The American Red Cross has issued an emergency call for platelet donations.
Communications Manager for the Red Cross New York-Penn Blood Services Region Patty Corvaia says there are 2 main reasons for the recent shortage.
One is that seasonal colds and flu have prevented regular donors from giving, and the second is Hurricane Matthew.
"Because of Hurricane Matthew we've had to cancel over 100 blood drives in the areas affected, and that has made us lose about 3,100 units that we would have expected to collect in those communities."
Platelets, the clotting portion of blood are primarily given to cancer patients during treatment. They must be transfused within 5 days of donations, and are therefore always in great demand.
"If they’re not used within 5 days, they have to be discarded and right now the donations are coming in and they’re going out our doors as fast as they come in."
The platelet donation process takes about 2 to 3 hours. Corvaia said even though this is longer than a regular blood donation, its more than worth it.
"You are giving somebody a second chance at life. I mean that’s what it really boils down to. You are giving somebody another shot at living."
During those few hours, blood is collected by a device that separates the platelets and returns the blood back to the donor along with a saline solution.
Platelet donations can be made at facilities in Greece and West Henrietta. You can make an appointment or find out more at redcrossblood.org.