Check it out: The Red Cross is facing a blood shortage. Donors needed.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Compiled by Debra Scherban. Please send items to dscherban@gazettenet.com.

Red Cross faces blood shortage, donors needed

The American Red Cross has a severe winter blood shortage and is calling for donors to help save lives.

Hectic holiday schedules for many regular blood donors resulted in fewer donations in November and December. Snowstorms and other severe weather have also affected donations with canceled blood drives.

“Blood and platelet donations are critically needed in the coming days so that patients can continue to receive the lifesaving treatments they are counting on,” said Alyson Barraza of the Massachusetts Red Cross Blood Services Region. “We encourage donors to invite a family member or friend to donate with them to help meet patient needs. Right now, blood and platelet donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in.”

For the 10th year, Dunkin’ Donuts is helping the Red Cross by offering $5 gift cards to donors through January.

Anyone wishing to donate blood can schedule an appointment by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Also, completing a RapidPass online health history questionnaire can help speed up the donation process.

“In about an hour, you can help save someone’s life,” said Barraza. “This simple act can have a profound impact on another human being.”

Those in need of blood include accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease who may all require blood to save their lives.

Following are area donation opportunities.

Tuesday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Thornes Market, 150 Main St., Northampton

Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., WEBS America's Yarn Store, 75 Service Center Road, Northampton

Friday, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., University of Massachusetts Student Union, 41 Campus Center Way, Amherst

Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Williamsburg First Congregational Church, 4 North Main St., Willilamsburg

Jan. 16, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., World War II Club, 50 Conz Street, Northampton

Jan. 18, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., University of Massachusetts Student Union, 41 Campus Center Way, Amherst

Jan. 19 p.m. to 5 p.m., Cooley Dickinson Hospital, 30 Locust St., Florence

Diabetes center offers programs for teens, adults

Kids with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are invited to take part in the Cooley Dickinson Medical Group Diabetes Center Winter Adventure Jan. 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Cherry Hill Golf Course, 325 Montague Road, Amherst.

Led by an experienced outdoorsman who is well-versed in diabetes management, participants will snowshoe and hike along the Robert Frost Trail until they reach a frozen pond where the group will build a fire, and have lunch.

Hikers should dress appropriately and bring lunch, snacks to share and water.

To register, call 888-554-4CDH (4234) or visit www.cooley-dickinson.org/events. Space is limited.

The diabetes center is also offering a Step Up Program for those 18 and older who have been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

The program helps participants gain and maintain healthy lifestyles through structured exercise, nutrition and meal planning, behavioral support and medication management.

The next series of classes begins Jan. 23; the cost is $75 for one 12-week session plus nine monthly follow-up meetings.

Those interested may call the Cooley Dickinson Medical Group Diabetes Center at 413-586-1601 for more information or to register.