RALEIGH, N.C. — In the Carolinas region of the American Red Cross, the inventory of all blood types is hovering at a one-day supply. The Raleigh, Cary and North Raleigh Red Cross blood centers will stay open one hour later than usual Wednesday through Monday to give donors an extended giving opportunity.
The winter months and the holidays typically take a toll on blood donations. This year, the nation and the Triangle are bordering on crisis-level shortages.
The American Red Cross said the call to give blood comes at a time when blood is traditionally in short supply due to the holidays, travel schedules, inclement weather and illness.
National inventory levels have dropped well below a safe and adequate supply. In some areas of the country, elective surgeries have been postponed or canceled.
The inventory continues to drop due to a number of contributing factors, including holiday travel, breaks from school, extreme weather conditions in the West and a decline in sponsor-scheduled blood drives.
Blood can be donated at the following centers, during the following hours:
Wednesday, Jan. 14
Thursday, Jan. 15
Friday, Jan. 16
Saturday, Jan. 17
Sunday, Jan. 18
Monday, Jan. 19 (MLK Holiday)
Individuals are asked to support their local blood centers by making and keeping an appointment to donate immediately. If supplies are not replenished, surgeries will continue to be canceled, and patient care may be compromised.
"We are joining the blood-banking community to emphasize the significance of the need to donate blood," Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy G. Thompson said. "The nation is facing critical shortages in communities across the country.
"If blood supplies do not immediately increase, patients, accident victims and those whose lives depend on regular transfusions are at risk for not getting the blood they need. Every eligible individual should give blood, if not for themselves, for their friends, their loved ones or their neighbors."
Eligible donors must be healthy, at least 17 years old, weigh 110 pounds or more and meet other donor requirements.
Those interested in donating blood are urged to contact
To prompt donations, January is designated National Volunteer Blood Donor month.