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Winter storms causing blood shortages

The winter storm that battered several states this week is aggravating blood shortages around the country - including Kansas.

The storm that brought more than a foot of snow to much of central Kansas - and 8 inches to Wichita - forced the American Red Cross Blood Services to curtail some blood drives and cancel others because of school closings, spokeswoman Jennifer Keller said.

Five drives were canceled on Wednesday alone in Wichita and western Kansas, Kim Talkington, director of donor recruitment, said in a prepared statement.

Residents of the Wichita area are being encouraged to donate blood in the next week to help make up the shortfall in donations, Keller said.

Those who are eligible to donate are encouraged to make an appointment by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (733-2767) or online at http://www.redcrossblood.org/centralplains.

The Wichita Blood Donor Center at 707 N. Main is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The center is also open on the second Sunday of the month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Nationally, the Red Cross has had to cancel more than 750 blood drives because of winter storms, resulting in a shortfall of 28,000 donations, Keller said.

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