The severe cold and snow so far this winter has not only wreaked havoc on nearly everyone, it also caused a shortfall in blood donations for the Red Cross, including the chapter based in York City.
Nearly 1,5000 blood drives in 34 states, including Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., have been cancelled so far this year because of inclement weather, said Steve Mavica, a Red Cross spokesman.
The means the organizations is down about 50,000 units of blood and platelet donations.
A series of blood drives will be held in the coming weeks, and the Red Cross is asking anyone who is able to donate to help offset the shortfall.
"We're trying to have more blood that was donated locally on hand," Mavica said.
No shortage: Despite the drop in donations, Mavica said there is not a shortage of blood thanks a system that allows the Red Cross to bring in blood to states hit by snow from unaffected areas, such as the western part of the country.
"We're not at the point where this is a shortage," he said.
But the winter has taken a toll.
The Red Cross must collect a daily average of 15,000 units of blood for patients in approximately 2,700 hospitals and transfusions centers across the country. The canceled drives are equivalent to the Red Cross closing its national operations for more than three days, Mavica said.
However, Matt Leininger, chapter executive of the York-Adams and Greater Hanover chapters, said going the safe route and canceling the drives was the best thing to do considering weather conditions.
"In situations when the roads are icy, you can't blame anyone from not showing up and becoming someone who needs blood instead of someone who is giving blood," he said.
Blood wanted: Platelet donors, as well as blood donors with the most in-demand blood types — O positive and negative, A negative and B negative — are urgently needed to give blood in the days and weeks ahead to offset the shortfall, according to a news release.
To donate, a candidate must have a blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification.
Those who are 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 and younger also have to meet height and weight requirements, the release says.
For more information, or to make an appointment, call 1-800-Red Cross (1-800-733-2767), or go to redcrossblood.org.
Here's a list of Red Cross blood drives in York County this month.
Wednesday, Feb. 19, from 1 to 6:30 p.m. at the Greater Hanover Red Cross, 529 Carlisle St., Hanover.
Wednesday, Feb. 19, from 3 to 8:30 p.m. at the Wellsville Fire Co., 95 Community St., Wellsville.
Thursday, Feb. 20, from 6 to 11:30 a.m. at Starbucks Coffee, 3000 Espresso Way, York.
Thursday, Feb. 20, from 6:30 a.m. to noon at Motor Technology INC., 515 Willow Springs Lane, York.
Saturday, Feb. 22, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Grace United Methodist Church, 55 Albright Drive, Hanover.
Saturday, Feb. 22, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Greater Hanover Red Cross, 529 Carlisle St., Hanover.
Saturday, Feb. 22, from 7:30 a.m. to noon at American Red Cross York County Chapter, 724 S. George St., York.
Monday, Feb. 24, from 1 to 6:30 p.m. Greater Hanover Red Cross, 529 Carlisle St., Hanover.
Monday, Feb. 24, from 2:30 to 8 p.m. at American Red Cross York County Chapter, 724 S. George St., York.
Tuesday, Feb. 25, from 2 to 7 p.m. at Boscov's, 2899 Whiteford Road, York.
Wednesday, Feb. 26, from 1 to 6:30 p.m. at Greater Hanover Red Cross, 529 Carlisle St., Hanover.
Friday, Feb. 28, from noon to 5:30 p.m. at Chick-fil-A, 14665 Mount Airy Road, Shrewsbury.
— Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.