WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Severe winter weather has caused 150 blood drives to cancel, meaning over 5,500 blood and platelet donations go uncollected, the American Red Cross reported.

In North Carolina alone, 23 blood drives were cancelled or closed early due to last week’s winter storm, with nearly 600 uncollected donations.

Seasonal illnesses, like the flu, and holiday schedules also affect donations. The American Red Cross says these affected more than 28,000 fewer donations than needed in November and December.

With January being National Blood Donor Month, the American Red Cross hopes blood and platelet donors of all blood types make an appointment to help the shortage.

The American Red Cross says eligible donors can find a blood or platelet donation opportunity and schedule an appointment to donate by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass are encouraged to help speed up the donation process. RapidPass lets donors complete the pre-donation reading and answer the health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, by visiting from the convenience of a mobile device or computer, or through the Blood Donor App.

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