Irene prevented people from saving a life

Along with displacing some people, this weekend’s Hurricane Irene prevented some other people from saving a life.

The American Red Cross said it has canceled more than 60 blood drives along the East Coast due to Hurricane Irene, resulting in the shortfall of nearly 1,500 units of blood.

American Red Cross communications manager Mike Baisey said three weekend blood drives in Maryland were canceled, resulting in more than 100 donations that will not be made.

“The majority of [cancellations] are all storm-related,” Baisey said, explaining that some blood drive locations lost power over the weekend.

Making this even worse, Baisey said, was the fact that many donors were unable to make it out this weekend to donate, contributing to the greater shortfall.

Baisey said these donor cancellations started Friday and continued into Monday even though “the majority of our locations are operational and moving forward.”

For this reason, the Red Cross says it has an urgent and critical need for eligible platelet donors and is urging eligible platelet donors to call 1-800-272-2123 and schedule a donation as soon as possible.

“The shelf life on a platelet is only five days. That’s a donation that needs to be made and we get it to a hospital as soon as possible,” Baisey said.

He said that platelets are commonly used for patients undergoing cancer treatment, trauma victims and many other hospital patients.

To schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 1-800-RED CROSS. Eligible platelet donors should call 1-800-272-2123. For more information, go to

~Hanna Malak
[email protected]

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