Red Cross In Need Of Money, Blood Donations

Saturday, January 31st 2009, 9:59 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Devastation from the ice storm took a big bite out of the American Red Cross' budget. Red Cross representatives say the organization is in desperate need of blood and money.

Dozens of people rolled up their sleeves on Saturday at a blood drive held at Woodland Hills Mall.

"The operation's not over. We're still feeding people. We still have people in our shelters. All four shelters are still open today. The operation is probably going to cost in excess of $100,000," said Jan Hale, American Red Cross.

Jan Hale says they've averaged 1,000 meals a day this week.

EMSA paramedics transported about 150 patients to area hospitals because of crashes on icy streets. More than a dozen patients had to be admitted to the hospital after falling on slick sidewalks.

"It saves a lot of lives. It's important to share that if you can," said Amy Vanfleet, Tahlequah resident.

The Red Cross says this week's ice storms in Oklahoma cost them 500 units of blood.

"That's 500 patients. That's 500 units of life-saving blood," said Hale. "Our hospitals were counting on that."

Dozens of mall shoppers donated blood. Richard Marple is a Tulsa doctor. He says he knows how great the need is.

"I heard there was a shortage and my wife was here shopping, so I had some time. So I thought I'd just give a little back," said Dr. Richard Marple, blood donor.

Red Cross officials say some of those shelters could stay open through next week.

To donate money, visit the Red Cross Web site or call 800-494-0275.