As the American Red Cross responds to Hurricane Florence, providing food, shelter and comfort to those affected, individuals outside the affected areas are urged to help by giving blood or platelets to care for patients in the storm’s path and across the country. People can also help by making a financial donation to support relief efforts.

Hurricane Florence’s wrath left catastrophic damage behind and also took a toll on blood and platelet donations. Nearly 200 Red Cross blood drives in the Southeast were forced to cancel, resulting in more than 5,200 uncollected blood and platelet donations.

“Natural disasters like hurricanes can disrupt blood drives and prevent donors from giving, but hospital patients still depend on lifesaving transfusions,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “There is an especially critical need for platelets to help cancer patients and type O blood donations for ongoing patient care and emergencies. Every donation can be a lifeline for patients.”

Donors of all blood types are urged to help restore hope to patients across the country by making an appointment today to give blood or platelets. Appointments can be made by using the Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Make an appointment and encourage your family and friends to donate on Thursday, October 4, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Scotland County Hospital, 450 E. Sigler St., Memphis.

Healthy individuals are needed every day to maintain an adequate blood supply for patients in need. Once a donor has made the commitment to give blood, it is important to take a few simple steps to prepare and help ensure a good donation experience.

Donating blood is an easy way to help others, and only takes about an hour of your time. The Red Cross encourages donors to give blood every time they are eligible: every 56 days for whole blood donations and every 112 days for double red cell donations.

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.