WICHITA FALLS and TERRAL (KFDX/KJTL) — A blood drive is being held Wednesday in Terral, Oklahoma, to help combat a shortage of blood donations.

Riverstar Casino in Terral is hosting a blood drive in their conference room Wednesday, Jan. 25, from 12:45 to 4 p.m.

To schedule an appointment to donate at the drive, call Joseph Slotnick at (580) 228-4469.

As winter weather began moving into Texas earlier this week, blood donors began cancelling appointments, and blood drives were delayed, forcing an already struggling blood supply to critically low levels.

Our Blood Institute (OBI) in Wichita Falls is asking donors to reschedule appointments as the weather clears. OBI said a significant number of appointments were cancelled.

Before yesterday’s storm, donations were already down from expected collections. OBI typically has a three- to five-day supply of blood available, but is well below that level now. The shortage could impact hospital needs.

Those who donate at a donor center Wednesday, Jan. 25, and Thursday, Jan. 26, will receive their choice of a winter hat, gloves or ice scraper.

Successful donors will also receive an alien-themed “Save the Humans” T-shirt.

Please note that the Wichita Falls donor center is usually closed on Saturday but will be open this Saturday to allow additional donors to give blood.

OBI needs 1,200 blood donations each day to maintain an ample supply of blood for state hospitals.

“January is always a difficult time as blood donations typically slow, and the winter weather is magnifying the problem,” said John Armitage, M.D., OBI president and CEO. “Since the start of the year, blood donations are suffering substantially, and fewer people are donating. We need the public to step up and help secure their community blood supply.”

Anyone who is healthy and 16 years old* or older can donate. Blood can be donated every 56 days. Platelets can be donated as often as every seven days, up to 24 times a year.

“Blood has no substitute,” Armitage said. “Patients across the state rely on blood products to fight cancer, survive trauma and heal after childbirth. Blood donation takes about an hour and can save up to three lives.”

Appointments to donate can be made online at obi.org or by calling (877) 340-8777.

*16-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission; 17-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; individuals over the age of 18 must weigh at least 110 pounds. Photo ID required.

This information was released to our newsroom as a press release.