Winter weather hurts Kentucky blood supply

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Winter weather is still packing a punch, and it's continuing to hit the community's blood supply hard. With heavy snow in eastern Kentucky today, Kentucky Blood Center (KBC) officials had to close the Pikeville Donor Center. Blood drives in that area were also cancelled.

Winter storm Pax is affecting more than half of KBC's 60 county service area, which will impact blood collection in those areas.

"This week alone six drives and nearly 200 units were lost, as well as our Pikeville Donor Center today. Six more drives in affected areas tomorrow are also at risk, but we'll just have to wait to see what happens. And with more snow expected in the central part of the state, even more donations may be lost tomorrow and Saturday," said Martha Osborne, KBC's Executive Director of Marketing and Recruitment.

"The winter weather has played havoc with the blood drive schedule for more than a month now. We did get some help from our donor center friends to the south. However, donor centers across the country are now struggling with their own weather issues," said Osborne. "Right now blood inventory is low, and we're especially in need of O negative and B negative blood types."

The ongoing winter weather doesn't just keep people from donating. It also creates blood demands, as one Lexington resident found out recently.

After an unexpected slip on an icy sidewalk, Camille Weber, 60, was sore and bruised but kept up her regular routine. Within three days, though, she was in an ambulance on the way to the ER. Turns out she'd lacerated her spleen and broke two ribs when she fell and had internal bleeding. To help her recover, she received two units of blood and spent three days in the hospital waiting for her spleen to heal.

"When they transfused me I actually did think to myself how lucky I was that people had taken time to donate, but I always thought it went to people in car accidents or those who needed total body transfusions. I didn't think a little slip and fall on the ice would need a blood transfusion," said Camille.

Donors who can safely reach a blood drive or donor center are encouraged to donate today or Friday. They will receive a long-sleeve black T-shirt and a chance to win a snow thrower.

To find a KBC donor center or blood drive, visit or call 1-800-775-2522. Blood donors must be 17-years-old (16 with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds, be in general good health, show a photo I.D. and meet additional requirements. Sixteen-year-old donors must have a signed parental permission slip, which can be found at

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