As severe winter weather begins to subside, the American Red Cross is asking all eligible blood and platelet donors to help offset a weather-related shortfall in donations. Residents in the unaffected areas of Oregon and Washington can help to boost donations immediately.

Approximately 280 blood drives across 25 states were canceled across the U.S. due to snow and extreme cold. The blood drive cancellations resulted in a shortfall of nearly 8, 400 blood and platelet donations since Jan. 2.

"It's the blood products already on the shelves that help save lives when severe weather hits," said Daphne Mathew, communications director of the Pacific Northwest Red Cross Blood Services Region. "Thanks to generous Red Cross blood and platelet donors, blood products were available for patients who still needed transfusions despite the weather."

Platelet donors, as well as blood donors with the most in-demand blood types -- O positive and negative, A negative and B negative -- are urgently needed to give blood in the days and weeks ahead to offset the shortfall.

Platelets, a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, must be transfused within five days of donation, so donations are constantly needed. Red blood cells, the oxygen carrying component of blood, are the most widely transfused blood product and must be transfused within 42 days.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

- Jan. 9 from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm at Portland Donation Center, 3131 N. Vancouver Ave. Portland, OR 97227

 - Jan. 10 from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm at Portland Donation Center, 3131 N. Vancouver Ave. Portland, OR 97227

 - Jan. 10 from 2:00 pm to 7:30 pm at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 11305 SW Bull Mountain Rd. Tigard, OR 97223

 - Jan. 11 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at Elks Lodge #1989, 3500 SW 104th Ave. Beaverton, OR 97005

 - Jan. 11 from 8:00 am to 1:30 pm at Vancouver Blood Donation Center 5109 NE 82nd Ave, Vancouver, WA 98662

 - Jan. 12 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at Southwest Portland Community Center, Gabriel Park Mall, 6820 S.W. 45th. Ave. Portland, OR 97219

 - Jan. 13 from 1:30 am to 7:00 pm at Gladstone Christian Church, 305 E Dartmouth St., Gladstone, OR 97027

How to donate blood:

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information. A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), 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 have to meet certain height and weight requirements.