Bangor-area residents are asked to participate in the Bundle Up Blood Drive from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 30, at the Elks Lodge on Hammond Street in Bangor.
The Elks Lodge is located behind the American Red Cross Blood Donor Center near the corner of Hammond Street and Odlin Road near Bangor International Airport.
The severe winter storm that blanketed Northeast states after Christmas caused an estimated 780 units of blood to go uncollected in New England due to blood drive closures and low turnout at drives that were able to run.
Christine Bessey, collections manager at the donor center in Bangor, said planned blood drives in Monroe, Harrington and Lewiston were derailed by this week’s stormy weather. The loss comes at what is typically a challenging time to collect blood, as donations decline during the winter holiday season.
“People are doing the holiday thing,” Bessey said Wednesday afternoon. “They’re travelling and shopping and seeing their families.” Only the summer vacation months are more challenging for blood collection, she said, although both seasons see an increased demand for blood products.
In the United States, someone needs blood every two seconds, according to the American Red Cross. In Maine, donations must average 300 units a day in order to meet demand, Bessey said.
All blood types are in short supply. Donations of type O-negative blood are in special demand as the inventory has dropped to critical levels. Type O-negative blood can be transfused to anyone and is often used in emergency situations when there is no time to obtain the patient’s blood type.
The Bundle Up Blood Drive, sponsored by FairPoint Communications, aims to attract at least 500 Maine donors to sites in Bangor and Portland. All donors will be entered into a drawing for prizes including a laptop computer, a kayak, an iPod and a Kindle electronic reading device. Other prizes include T-shirts, gift coupons for Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and sports tickets. The Texas Roadhouse restaurant will provide food.
Donors unable to attend on Thursday are asked to make an appointment to help ensure that blood is available when needed. In addition, the Red Cross urges all those who were unable to keep their appointments due to recent weather conditions to reschedule as soon as possible.
Individuals who are at least 17 years of age, who weigh at least 110 pounds and who are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. Donors should bring a Red Cross blood donor card or other form of identification to the donation site.
To schedule an appointment, call 800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org.