Record snowfall keeps donors home, creates critical shortage of blood

Along with hazardous roads and power outages, this week's winter storm created a critical shortage in blood donations needed by hospitals.

A three-day blood drive intended to correct that shortage just wrapped up today – and plenty of donors stepped up to help.

The Indiana Blood center put out a call for help after the storm asking for donors like Mark Braun to help restore the supply.

"Because I'm a regular donor, they sent me an e-mail saying they were short," Braun said.

Deborah Mora also answered the call.

"I do white platelets so I can do that more frequently and it's actually a more critical product for people who are really sick and not just accident victims," Mora said.

Blood donations typically dip during the holidays, but the winter storm affected the blood supply from Indianapolis to Los Angeles.  The American Red Cross says the weather canceled about 300 blood drives, resulting in 8,800 units of blood lost – a shortage that can't easily be made up, according to blood donation officials.

"People can't get in to donate when the weather's so bad," said Jake McCasland, with the Indiana Blood Center. "It hurts us. We don't make toys. We rely on our donors."

For more information about the Indiana Blood Center or ongoing blood drives, click here.

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