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Blood drives canceled due to Florence, Red Cross says donations are needed

Posted at 4:06 AM, Sep 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-18 10:18:20-04

Since Hurricane Florence hit the Carolina's last week, organizations across the country are working to send blood to the region.

Red Cross says about 170 blood drives were canceled this week because of the storm.

Thousands of platelets and blood products were uncollected.

It could take days or weeks for collection centers to get back up and running so the Red Cross and local organizations are encouraging people to donate blood now.

One Blood in Florida already sent a shipment to the Carolinas before the storm.

Right now, they are on standby in case more is requested.

Officials say the need for blood is constant. They say don’t wait for a tragedy or a hurricane to hit to give blood.

Florence is another reminder of why blood supply is so important.  Officials tell Fox 4 it’s important to make sure they have enough blood on hand, especially during hurricane season.

They say Irma was a prime example of that.  “When Irma rolled through, that impacted our service area in a way we never experienced before. We had to shut down all our operations for a couple days because Irma was so large, it covered the entire state and we were unable to operate,” said Susan Forbes, One Blood V.P. of Marketing and Communications. “We were closed for a couple days but it was the blood we had on hand that we were able to get out to these hospitals in advance.”

Red Cross is using their national inventory to get blood to where it’s needed.

Right now, they are not collecting blood from local organizations but they continue to encourage people to donate.

If you want to donate blood, here is the list of One Blood locations in Southwest Florida: 

Fort Myers Center- 6810 Shoppes at Plantation Dr #5, Fort Myers, FL 33912
Cape Coral Center - 601 Del Prado Blvd N #6, Cape Coral, FL 33909
Port Charlotte Center - 23080 Harbor View Rd, Port Charlotte, FL 33980

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