SARASOTA, FLA.- — Extreme weather has impacted the ability for many blood centers to collect life-saving blood products.
SunCoast Blood Centers is asking people, age 16 or older, to donate now to meet critical needs both locally and for states affected by severe winter weather.
"We reached about 20 different emails from blood centers across the country asking for help. The winter weather especially in Texas has prevented those centers from collecting blood," said Joan Leonard, a Community Liaison at SunCoast Blood Centers.
America's Blood Centers, a national organization, sent an email to SunCoast Blood Centers. It states, "Severe winter weather continues to wreak havoc across multiple regions in the United States resulting in numerous blood drive cancellations and significantly decreased blood product collections."
SunCoast Blood Centers has donation sites in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The donation sites had extended hours earlier this week to encourage people to donate.
"We always serve our local hospitals first so we're asking for our regular donors to come out and in addition to that folks who may have never donated blood before," said Leonard.
"As vaccinations are rolled out here in Florida, you can still donate blood whether you had one of your vaccinations or both or you haven't been vaccinated at all," added Leonard.
SunCoast Blood Centers said up to 50% of its donations are for cancer patients and one unit of blood can save up to three lives.
Individuals can schedule an appointment to give blood at any SunCoast Blood Centers location or bloodmobile by visiting https://suncoastblood.org or calling 1-866-97-BLOOD.