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Blood banks encourage donation through winter months

March 11, 2019. Monroe Carell Jr Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tennessee. Photographs from blood bank at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, blood donations at Red Cross on Monday, March 11, 2019 in Nashville, Tenn. Photo by Sanford Myers/American Red Cross
Sanford Myers
American Red Cross
Monroe Carell Jr Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tennessee 2019.

As the frigid and icy winter season goes on, blood drive organizers across Oregon are encouraging more donors.

Freezing weather can have a severe impact on blood donation. Dawn Johnson, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross Cascades, says blood drives have taken a hit over the past couple of months.

“When we had our ice storm, we ended up having to cancel nearly two dozen blood drives just in the Cascade region alone,” she said. “So we wanna make sure that we’re getting enough people in the door and donating blood so we can get ahead of those weather impacts.”

Kristen Alcorn is a Chief Medical Officer at Bloodworks Northwest. The blood bank recently emerged from “Code Red,” a critical level of appeal generally meaning a day or less worth of blood supply.

“Platelets can only be stored for seven days, and red blood cells for up to six weeks. So we always need people coming in to donate.”

The American Red Cross says one in seven patients entering a hospital will need a blood transfusion, yet only 3% of the public gives blood.

The biggest incentive to donate blood is to save a life. But the American Red Cross is also offering the chance to win a trip to the Super Bowl to anyone who donates this January, while Bloodworks Northwest is presenting the opportunity to win a Dyson Airwrap Multi-Styler.

Jasmine Lewin was a freelance reporter in 2022 and 2023. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Lewin wrote for the University of Oregon quarterly magazine Ethos before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
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