Winter Weather Leaves Red Cross Low on Blood

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January is National Blood Donor Month. And after a busy holiday travel season, blood centers across Central Illinois suffered from low supplies. Now, the recent arctic blast means the problem is nationwide!

"When I was a freshman in high school, my dad was in a hunting accident and he needed blood and has a rare blood type.. O positive," said MT. Zion resident, Matt Reynolds. "And that's the same blood type I have. And so they had trouble finding it, so I decided then that I was going to give blood to help other people."

Since then Reynolds has donated about 2 and a half gallons.

Carl Baker of the American Red Cross says Reynolds is part of a small few.

"Believe it or not, 38% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate, but out of that only about 8% actually donate blood," said Baker.

He says that number is especially low this time of the year.

"You've got the cold months so you've got people fighting the flu and different things like that. Because of illnesses, donations tend to go down."

The recent winter storm only made it worse.

"With the winter storm that just happened, it canceled about 240 blood drives across 23 states," said Baker. "So that actually put us at a shortfall of about 7,000 units of blood and platelets."

Now, it's time to rebuild. And you can help.

"It's a very simple process. It's a very easy process. And it takes very little time. And again, it helps a lot of people out in a time of need."

About 40% of the nation's blood supply actually comes from the Red Cross.

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