Blood donation centers issuing urgent plea after blood shortage caused by cold weather

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Memorial Blood Centers are calling their supplies “dangerously low” this week because of the cold weather.

The dangerously low temperatures gripping the Midwest have led to a critically low supply of all blood types across the nation and here in the metro area.

“No, this is not normal,” said Larry Sibler, of Memorial Blood Centers. “This is pretty quiet.”

This week at the Memorial Blood Centers, platelet donations are down. Some blood types have dropped to just a one-day supply.

The weather is so severe that donation centers were forced to close on Wednesday.

“In recent memory we have never canceled all of our blood drives across the entire state, so that’s unprecedented,” Sibler said.

The biggest concern is falling short of filling the need for blood donations next week.

“Newborns will often need blood, we are the primary supplier of blood to children’s hospitals, accident victims will need blood, surgical patients will need blood, a lot of cancer patients often receive blood,” Sibler added.

(Larry Kontio/Blood donor) 6:47:47

“I was someone who didn’t like needles really, but you just get used to it,” said Larry Kontio, a blood donor.

Kontio has been donating blood for 10 years. The arctic blast nearly drove him to cancel his appointment.

“Yesterday, I was thinking that I’d reschedule, but I kind of got to the point where I wanted to get out of the house,” Kontio said.

The Memorial Blood Centers are now issuing an urgent plea.

“I don’t fault anyone for staying home in this weather, but now, as temperatures start to rise, we’re hopeful that our donors and people who are interested in donating we will come out and make that life-saving gift,” Sibler said.