Lowcountry blood shortage blamed on winter weather

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Last week's winter storm didn't just impact the water system and the roadways. Area hospitals are seeing a shortage of blood, and the American Red Cross is asking for help.

"We require about 200 units of blood per day to support our local hospitals," communications director for the South Carolina Red Cross Cuthberg Langley said. "The winter weather caused us to cancel 21 blood drives in South Carolina. That resulted in a collection loss of about 625 units."

It wasn't just the frigid temperatures that kept people from donating.

"Cold and flu season has been very busy and we just got finished with a hectic holiday schedule. That resulted in a loss of 28,000 units in November and December."

That is approximately a 3.6 percent decrease.

"It's just something that everyone should do. Some people don't have time but you can always find a little bit of time to give blood. It only takes a half hour or so," Charleston resident David Setzer said. Setzer has been donating blood since the 1970's.

"In 1974 in San Diego at the Navy Hospital. They gave us a free steak and I was in the Navy," said Setzer, with a chuckle.

Back on the West Coast, he has been donating regularly since 1980. That amounts to more than 100 times.

"There's always going to be a need for blood and everyone has an opportunity to help. If you can donate, you should. It's something we can all do to help each other," Setzer said.

"Very easy, painless, quick process. No reason anybody shouldn't do it," Johns Island resident David Willey said, while donating blood Thursday.

"Very easy, in fact I just asked if I could take this chair home with me," Charleston resident Dennis Way said, while donating blood Thursday. "Better than my recliner."

The Red Cross reports any and all donations are being distributed to hospitals as fast as they come in.

Not only do you get snacks and juice after your quick and easy blood donation, but you also save three lives.

If you are interested in donating blood or would like to schedule an appointment, click this link.

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