Blood and platelet donation appointments still critically needed amid first-ever Red Cross blood crisis

Winter weather, ongoing COVID-19 surge continue to threaten blood supply

Jefferson City, Mo (Jan. 25, 2022) — While there has been a significant and encouraging response to the dire need for blood across the nation, the American Red Cross needs more people to give in the weeks ahead to recover from its worst blood shortage in more than a decade. Those interested in helping are urged to schedule the earliest-available blood or platelet donation appointment in their area to help ensure accident victims rushed to the emergency room, those being treated for cancer and others who count on blood product transfusions can receive lifesaving care without delay.

Since the Red Cross issued its first-ever blood crisis alert, severe winter weather has further complicated efforts to rebuild the blood supply. Hundreds of blood drives have been canceled across the country due to winter storms in January, forcing about 6,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected.

As February approaches, and the effects from the spread of the omicron variant and winter weather persist, people are urged to make an appointment now to give blood or platelets in the weeks ahead by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).  

As a thank-you for coming out to help save lives during this blood crisis, Krispy Kreme is offering those who come to give blood or platelets a free Original Glazed® dozen through the end of January. To receive the free Original Glazed dozen, visit a participating Krispy Kreme shop by Jan. 31 and present a donation sticker or a digital blood donor card through the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

Those who come to give blood or platelets Feb. 1-28, 2022, will receive a $10 Gift Card via email, thanks to Amazon.*

Employment and volunteer opportunities available

During this challenging time, the Red Cross is also actively recruiting blood collection employees and blood drive volunteers who play vital roles in supporting the nation’s blood supply. The Red Cross encourages those interested to go to Hiring bonuses from $1,500 to $3,000 are being offered for some positions including phlebotomist and drivers with a CDL.

For volunteer opportunities to support Red Cross blood collections, visit Volunteer positions needed most are individuals who can greet and assist donors through the process (called ambassadors), and individuals who can drive Red Cross vans to transport blood (called transportation specialists). A CDL is not needed.

Blood drive safety 

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive. 

Save time during donation

Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass®. With RapidPass®, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.

Health insights for donors 

At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease who require trait-negative blood. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.    

Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at  

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.  

Lauren Casey Named Pharmacy Director at Bates County Memorial Hospital

Lauren Casey, PharmD, is the new director of pharmacy at Bates County Memorial Hospital (BCMH), a position she assumed earlier this month. Casey has worked as a pharmacist at BCMH for 10 years.

Lauren grew up in Kansas City, KS and earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of Kansas. After getting married to her husband, Bryan, they moved to Georgia so her husband could go to college there. While he was in school, Casey worked in a lab, but her husband knew she wanted to do something different.

“Math and science were always my favorite subjects, so we found pharmacy to be a good choice. He urged me to apply to pharmacy school, and I got accepted.”  Following her husband’s graduation, they moved back to Missouri, and in 2008, Casey graduated from the School of Pharmacy at the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a doctorate.

Upon graduating, Casey worked in retail pharmacy at Walgreens. The pace was hectic; some days, she said, she felt she was working a conveyer line. When she had the opportunity to work for Bates County Memorial Hospital in 2012, Casey jumped at the opportunity, in part because the schedule would benefit her family life. The transition also proved gratifying for her professional goals.

“I like the idea of hospital pharmacy because I feel like I can make a difference in a patient’s care.   I have the ability to make recommendations or modify patient orders to provide the best care,” she said.

The role of the hospital pharmacist is quite involved as they work with the hospital’s medical staff to ensure all orders are correctly dosed and administered. In addition to filling orders for medications required in the operating rooms or for patients on the medical-surgical floor of BCMH, Casey is part of the team overseeing care for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and other infusion treatments at BCMH.

As director of pharmacy, Casey will focus on ensuring the department is following state and federal laws and the rules and regulations regarding the practice of pharmacy and makes sure the hospital remains compliant and up to date with any safety and quality standards.

“I have enjoyed the small-town hospital feel of working at BCMH. We get to know the patients and their histories. We are able to provide a more personalized level of care here that the big hospitals may not be able to provide.”

Casey and her husband live in Raymore, Mo. They have two sons, ages 14 and 12.