American Red Cross encourages area residents to make an appointment to give blood

NEMO residents can help the American Red Cross as it faces an emergency need for blood amid recent winter storms and the federal government partial shutdown.

Recent blood drives have been canceled due to inclement weather coupled with the federal government's partial shutdown, said Joe Zydio, external communications manager for Blood Services Missouri-Illinois Region. The emergency shortage of blood and platelets — including rare Type O blood — means that hospitals are distributing blood faster than it is being donated. The organization has a variety of ways for Northeast Missouri residents to schedule an appointment and make a difference that could save a life in the immediate area.

The Red Cross released a new Blood Donor mobile application that helps donors find the nearest blood drive and streamline the donation process.

Zydio said the American Red Cross reaches out through social media platforms, sends emails to past donors and reaches out to media outlets whenever there is a blood drive during this crucial time. He spoke with a blood bank manager who told him that when blood supplies are down 30 or 40 percent, that could mean “the difference between life or death” for an accident victim or other patient who needs a certain blood type for a transfusion, surgery or other procedure.

Zydio stressed how the emergency need for blood and platelets could impact a loved one or neighbor at a moment's notice, and why it's so important to donate.

“You’d want somebody to do it to for you, you’d want somebody to do it for a family member — or God forbid, if something ever happened to somebody you loved or somebody you knew, you’d want blood to be on the shelves and ready to go if they needed it,” he said. “It’s just so important to donate.”

The American Red Cross urges people donors to visit redcrossblood.org or call 1800-RED CROSS to set up an appointment. The mobile app is free for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com