By VBC


GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN(LATMITV)– Versiti Blood of Michigan, formerly Michigan Blood, has issued an emergency appeal for blood donations.
Heavy snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures have kept loyal and new blood donors at home, causing a sharp decline in Michigan’s blood supply, now at a critically low level.
More than 80 community blood drives across the state in January were canceled, resulting in the loss of more than 3,000 blood donations, resulting in an emergency need situation. Ver-siti Blood Center of Michigan is the exclusive blood and blood products supplier to nearly 70 Michigan hospitals and must see 560 blood donors statewide every day to meet hospitals’ daily needs.
“The need for life-saving blood for our hospital partners across Michigan is severe and re-lentless. For every donation, up to three lives can be saved,” said Dr. LeeAnn Weitekamp, senior medical director at Versiti Blood Center of Michigan. “Less than 3 percent of Ameri-cans able to donate blood actually do. We’re asking those who can to give blood and en-courage their family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers to donate at this extremely critical time.”
All blood types are needed, especially O-negative blood. O-negative donors are universal blood donors, meaning their red blood cells can be transfused to patients with any blood type. The blood type is found in hospital emergency rooms for situations when there is no time to determine a patient's blood type.
Versiti Blood Center of Michigan has collected blood and blood products throughout the state since 1955. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, the center collects more than 114,000 units of blood each year at eight donation centers and through the operation of more than 3,400 community blood drives throughout the state.
Versiti Blood Center of Michigan operates eight donor centers throughout the state:
Grand Rapids: 1036 Fuller NE
Kalamazoo Area: 524 E. Milham Ave, Portage
Saginaw: 1771 Tittabawassee Road
Traverse City: 2575 Aero Park Drive
Grandville: 3140 Wilson SW
St. Joseph: 2710 Cleveland Ave.
Bay City: 1017 N. Johnson St.
Midland: 825 E. Main St.
Appointments are encouraged but walk-ins are welcome. To schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 1-866-642-5663 or visit versiti.org/Michigan.
Donating blood takes about an hour. Anyone age 17 or older in good health who meets eli-gibility requirements is encouraged to give. Parental consent is required for donors age 16 to donate blood. Donors should bring a photo ID that includes their birth date.