The bitterly cold start to the New Year has resulted in a critical shortage of blood donations, and the American Red Cross is now urging the public to roll up its sleeves and help out.
The Red Cross says the holidays, an active flu season and the bitter cold snap have all led to a critical shortage of donated blood and platelets.
"We have had so many winter storms just since January 1 that we've had to cancel 200 blood drives,” said Suzy DeFrancis of the American Red Cross.
Donated blood is used to help accident victims and people in surgery, especially emergency trauma situations. Donations are also used for patients receiving treatment for Leukemia and other cancers, as well as sickle cell disease.
"Blood can't be stockpiled,” DeFrancis said. “It has to be there right at the time it's needed. And that's why it's so urgently needed right now."
All blood types are needed, especially O-negative, which is a universal blood type and can be used for anyone.
To find a local blood drive click here, or you can call 1-800-RED-CROSS.