Snow Affects Blood Drives

Red Cross: Need Never Takes Day Off

Posted: February 15, 2014

HARRISONBURG — The abundance of snow brought by this week’s storm could lead to a shortage of blood.

According to officials with the American Red Cross, which supplies Sentara RMH Medical Center, the winter walloping that dumped upward of 18 inches in the Harrisonburg area put the kibosh on 16 blood drives in Virginia.

One of those was supposed to be held Friday at James Madison University.

The Red Cross anticipated collecting more than 600 pints, or units, of blood during the 16 canceled drives in its Mid-Atlantic region. The region includes Western, Southwestern, Central and Southeast Virginia, but not Northern Virginia.

Throughout the South, the winter storm caused the cancellation of about 265 drives that were expected to yield 9,300 units.

Kristen Hatfield, spokeswoman for the Red Cross Mid-Atlantic/Appalachian Blood Services Region, said inclement winter has caused the cancellation of three blood drives in the Harrisonburg area this year, resulting in 50 pints of uncollected blood.

“The need for blood never takes a snow day,” Hatfield said in a news release.

Dr. Molly Galgano, pathologist at Sentara RMH, said the hospital has about 200 units of red blood cells at any given time and issues nearly 20 every day.

All blood types are needed, but especially O negative, the universal type.

“That is generally safe to use on anyone. A lot of times, when people come in the emergency room and need blood, that’s what we would issue in an emergency situation,” Galgano said. “We see shortages in O negative usually first.”

The Red Cross is asking people who can to make an appointment to donate blood or attend an upcoming drive.

Call (800) RED-CROSS or visit for more information or to make an appointment.

The following blood drives will be held this month.

* Friday, noon to 6 p.m. on the Bloodmobile, which will be parked outside the Sentara RMH Funkhouser Women’s Center.

* Feb. 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at JMU’s Warren Hall Transition Room.

* Feb. 26 from noon to 6 p.m. at Eastern Mennonite University.

* Feb. 28 from noon to 6 p.m. in the Bloodmobile outside the Sentara RMH Funkhouser Women’s Center.

Contact Jeremy Hunt at 574-6273 or

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