The American Red Cross has issued an emergency call for help.
The organization needs blood and platelet donors after 37-thousand fewer donations than expected came in at blood banks across the nation in November and December.
That includes the 319 locations in the Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region. Spokesman Joe Zydlo says now, donations are critically needed so that patients can continue to receive lifesaving treatments.
"Any blood type - A, A Positive, O, O Negative, B Negative - any and every blood type is needed."
Zydlo says this is the time of the year when blood donations are typically low because of the holidays, and bad weather is an additional factor that often keeps people from getting to donation sites. But the need is there, 365 days a year.
"Hospitals don't get a vacation; they don't get to take a holiday. There's patients that need it - cancer patients need platelet donations, too, that's so critical. It could be a life-threatening type of situation."
Zydlo says about 20 percent of blood drives are held at schools - so when they're closed, it really makes an impact.
"This is really one of two times of the year when we go into an emergency appeal - where we have this critical, emergency shortage, if you will, and it's really impacted us."
Zydlo says snowstorms and severe weather across the Midwest forced nearly 100 blood drives to cancel in December, resulting in thousands of potential blood donations going uncollected.
Blood drives are scheduled for Friday at the SIH System Office at the University Mall in Carbondale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesday at Tri-C Elementary School in Carterville from 2:30-6:30 p.m.
Zydlo says anyone can look online at RedCrossBlood.org and put in a ZIP Code to find the nearest donation site.