The Redwood Valley High School student council is hosting a blood drive this Friday (Jan. 25) from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Redwood Area Community Center in Redwood Falls.

Community members are welcome, and those who are interested in making a donation can either walk in or sign up for a time slot online.

The American Red Cross is facing an emergency need for blood and platelet donors. Severe winter weather in January forced the cancellation of more than 340 blood drives in 20 states, resulting in nearly 10,000 donations uncollected, further depleting an already low winter supply. Right now, blood products are being distributed to hospitals as quickly as donations come in.

All blood types are needed to help ensure a sufficient blood supply is available for patients. Eligible donors with types O, B negative and A negative blood are encouraged to donate double red cells where available.

There is also an emergency need for platelet donors to make and keep appointments to give. Platelets – a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients - must be transfused within five days of donation, so donations are always needed.

In addition, eligible donors with type AB blood are urgently needed to donate, especially platelets where available. Type AB is the universal plasma type, suitable for patients of all blood types. Plasma helps maintain blood pressure and supplies critical proteins for clotting and immunity. It is often needed for burn, trauma and clotting factor deficiency patients and can be given during a platelet donation.

For more information, visit redcrossblood.org.

Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross