SEATTLE - The storage shelves are bare at Bloodworks Northwest, which typically needs 900 units of blood every day to meet demand.
However, because of the recent cold and snow in the Pacific Northwest, 500 to 600 donations have been lost in just a few days.
Donors simply have not been able to get to a donation center or bloodmobile, according to Dr. Rebecca Haley. “We’ve had cancellations like crazy,” Haley, who is the Medical Director of Blood Services, told KIRO 7 on Tuesday.
And it’s not just the local weather causing the crisis.
Blood donations nationwide are down, because of the record-breaking cold-snap that's also hit the Midwest and east coast this winter.
“All the blood systems in the United States are connected. We cooperate with each other. When one has plenty and another is lacking, then we arrange shipments so that everyone will have what they need,” Haley explained.
Thank you for your donation, Amy! https://t.co/1CNZZ5Y5kd— Bloodworks Northwest (@BloodworksNW) February 5, 2019
However, in the Midwest and back east, “their shelves were empty. Now we’re having the bad weather and our shelves are not being replenished. So now our shelves are empty and there’s no place to go.”
Tom Biro was one of just three people donating blood and platelets when KIRO 7 visited the Bloodworks location on Terry Street on Tuesday afternoon.
Biro knows how important donation can be because a childhood friend survived cancer thanks to others’ blood and platelets. Those donations “allowed him to go from someone with a really, really significant medical condition” as a young child to a career in the U.S. Army.
His childhood friend was able to “travel the world and he’s doing great,” Biro said.
According to Haley, when there’s a transportation-paralyzing event such as a snowstorm, “blood donation is one of those things that suffers.”
Click here for donation locations and more information.
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