If you thought the terms “snowpocalypse” and “snowmaggeddon” were the most troubling repercussions of this week’s weather, you weren’t alone.
You were, however, lucky—not everyone had the luxury of taking their snow days lightly. For regional blood centers, the storms meant canceled blood drives during an already difficult season. Both the Penn-Jersey Red Cross and New York Blood Center posted urgent requests for donations to make up for losses.
The New York Blood Center, which seeks to maintain a constant five-to-seven day blood supply, said they fell to a four or five day supply yesterday, with a deficit of about 1,000 units of blood. “We’re asking people of all blood types to donate this week and over the weekend,” said Keith Hudson, the Center’s regional manager of communications, in a phone interview on Thursday morning. He added that the Center particularly needs platelet donors because platelets—the blood cells that help with clotting—have a shorter shelf life than whole-blood units, so supply depends on a near-constant flow of donations.
Though they consider the present need “urgent,” Hudson says that current levels don’t amount to a perilous shortage. “We’re still at a good level,” he said, “and the hospitals are doing okay.” Still, Hudson said the Blood Center strongly encourages those who can to visit a nearby blood drive in the next few days.
And then, for your own mental health, take a tip from some of east-coasters who made commendable use of their snow days this week, and enjoy the weather! Special mention goes to the organizers of the massive snowball fight in Dupont Circle, the time-lapse documentarians, and anyone who built an igloo.