Hurricane Florence impacts blood donations

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – In the wake of Hurricane Florence, the American Red Cross said they are in need of donors for blood and platelets.

The Red Cross said the hurricane has forced them to lose out on more than 200 blood donation drives in the affected states. They are hoping people come out and help here locally.

Giving blood is something of a routine for John Horch, because years ago a stranger's blood saved his children's lives.

It's emotional to discuss, but ever since then, he became a donor and volunteer with the American Red Cross.

Like most people the first time he gave blood, he was terrified. The next time he did it, it was fine. Then he began donating platelets. "I was laying there one day and there was a whiteboard with a column with what looked like initials," Horch said.

On the board were the initials of the cancer patient that was going to receive his platelets. "What happened? She went into remission. I can't explain what that does for the emotions. It wasn't because of me. I helped. She was getting platelets multiple times of days, so lots and lots of folks participated," Horch said.

Lots of donors are what the American Red Cross needs after Hurricane Florence. The Red Cross is hoping the response to the storm can drive up donations for their upcoming blood and platelet drive.

Florence forced hundreds of blood drives in the southeast to be canceled. Now, they are in need. "We need the blood and the platelets to come in. Not only is it important for patients in hospital but it's also good for donors to donate. It's healthy for people to get rid of red cells," American Red Cross Supervisor Heather Martin said.

The Red Cross describes donating as a win-win for both donors and patients. "Each person that's not out there donating can be someone else's hero," Martin said.

Like the anonymous hero who saved Horch's children decades ago.

Donors of all blood types are urged to help restore hope to patients across the country by making an appointment today to give blood or platelets. Appointments can be made by using the Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Financial donations are also needed and allow the Red Cross to provide disaster relief immediately. Help people affected by Hurricane Florence by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word FLORENCE to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

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