Ravell Call, Deseret News
Bobbie Willis stores blood specimens in a refrigerator at American Red Cross in Salt Lake City, Tuesday, July 9, 2013. At left is donated blood.

SALT LAKE CITY — As severe winter weather begins to subside, the American Red Cross is asking all eligible blood and platelet donors to help offset a weather-related shortfall in donations.

About 280 blood drives across 25 states were canceled due to snow and extreme cold. The cancellations resulted in a shortfall of nearly 8,400 blood and platelet donations since Jan. 2.

Blood drives at designated sites in Utah will offer extended hours to allow for more blood donation appointments.

“It’s the blood products already on the shelves that help save lives when severe weather hits,” said Julia Wulf, chief executive officer of the Red Cross Blood Services Region. “Thanks to generous Red Cross blood and platelet donors, blood products were available for patients who still needed transfusions despite the weather.”

Platelet donors, as well as blood donors with the most in-demand blood types — O- positive, O-negative, A-negative and B-negative — are urgently needed to give blood in the days and weeks ahead to offset the shortfall.

Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment to donate or for more information.