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updated: 1/31/2014 10:19 PM

LifeSource: Weather hampering blood collection

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The continuing Arctic weather has caused blood shortages and donation cancellations in nearly every state, including in Illinois.

LifeSource Blood Services reports that more than 400 appointments, including several local high school and junior college drives, have been lost in the last week.

LifeSource officials are asking people of all blood types to give in the coming days, to bring at least one friend when they do, and are extending hours to most of their city and suburban blood centers.

While a normal shortage during the winter holidays normally gets replenished by Feb. 1, one of the worst Chicago winters on record is forcing officials to ramp up their requests for donations across the region.

Extreme conditions have impacted the area served by LifeSource Blood, prompting some donors to miss scheduled visits at its mobile blood drives and community donor centers.

The nationwide shortage is affecting hospitals and trauma centers. If the current situation does not improve, thousands of patients who are scheduled for elective surgery in the coming weeks could possibly be affected.

"First and foremost, we want our donors to be safe in these winter conditions and to visit us when they feel safe traveling," LifeSource spokesman Jim Fitzgerald said, "but we need more blood donations to rebuild our community blood supply to appropriate levels to ensure high-quality patient care."

"Winter weather is expected to continue to negatively impact our blood donations," Fitzgerald said. "Patient needs don't change with the weather. That's why we're asking our donors to overcome the conditions and make their way to donate at a donor center or mobile drive."

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