Photo Credit: Sean Rayford for the New York Times
Over the past week across Florida and the Southeastern United States, Hurricane Matthew has wreaked havoc and sent more than 27,000 people to almost 200 Red Cross and community shelters. This includes 22,000 people in Florida alone going to 133 shelters across the state. As people seek shelter and try to stay safe from this storm, more the 1,800 Red Cross workers are active or traveling to the southeast to assist at shelters and response teams. As a result of the storm, many blood drives across the southeastern coast have been cancelled resulting in an urgent need for blood and platelet donations. The cancellation of over 30 blood drives across 3 states has resulted in over 1,300 donations uncollected and there are likely to be more cancellations in the foreseeable future as the storm rolls on. The loss of platelet donations are especially concerning because they are a key component in blood needed by cancer patients. In part of the country that have been affected by the storm, the Red Cross strongly urges those individuals who are eligible to give blood to do so soon in order to ensure a steady supply of blood and platelets to those who may need the blood urgently. Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).