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The weather cancellations are in addition to seasonal illnesses, such as the flu and hectic holiday schedules that contributed to more than 28,000 fewer donations than what the Red Cross needed in November and December.

The agency critically needs donations of platelets, which have a short shelf life.

And it will support a nationwide effort to boost donations, as January is National Blood Donor Month. Blood Systems is one of the nation's oldest and largest nonprofit community blood service providers, now serving more than 1,000 hospital and health care partners across 28 states to provide comprehensive transfusion medicine services for patients in need.

Platelets: The clotting portion of blood primarily given to cancer patients during treatment and always in great demand.

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Eligible individuals are urged to schedule a blood or platelet donation today by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

We Are Blood is experiencing a critical blood shortage and is in need of donations, especially types O negative and O positive blood, according to organization officials.

Eligible donors with types O, A negative and B negative blood are urged to make a Power Red donation, where available.

"We encourage everyone who can safely come out and donate to do so", said Debbie Bonzak, executive director for LifeShare Community Blood Services in the release. Blood donors should bring photo ID.


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