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The severe cold in many states caused about 300 American Red Cross blood drives to cancel operations this week. This resulted in a deficit of more than 8,800 blood and platelet donations.
It's an unfortunate way to start this January's National Blood Donation Month, when people are reminded that since blood cannot be manufactured, donations are regularly needed.
Not that long ago the American Red Cross was in such short supply of blood donations that it threatened to cause a number of surgeries to be cancelled.
In the summer of 2012, the American Red Cross sent out a plea for more blood donations. It was 50,000 units short of its blood donation goals in June and was at their lowest level in 15 years.