LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As a massive winter storm makes its way across the nation, hundreds of Red Cross blood drives have been canceled leaving more than 9,000 potential donations to go uncollected.

The American Red Cross of Southern Nevada is urging residents to donate blood to help ensure that patients across the nation have access to lifesaving blood during this winter storm.

“The severe winter weather is coming at a time of the year when the holidays and travel obligations already caused a slowdown in donations,” Rachel Flanigan, Executive Director of the American Red Cross Southern Nevada Chapter said. “Southern Nevadans – especially those with type O blood – are urged to give blood now. The Red Cross depends on generous volunteer blood donors every day to provide lifesaving blood for those in need, but especially during times of disaster.”

Flanigan said that the Red Cross must collect about 12,500 blood and nearly 3,000 platelet donations for patients at about 2,500 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.

“We need blood donors more than ever at this time of year, to make sure hospitals have the blood that seriously ill children and adults will need over Christmas and the new year,” Walter Kelley, Divisional Chief Medical Officer for the Pacific, Rocky Mountain, and Southwest Divisions of the American Red Cross said.

All blood types are needed, however, type O negative is the universal blood type and is what emergency room personnel reach for in the most serious situations when there is no time to determine a patient’s blood type.

To schedule an appointment to give blood, click this link or call 1-800-733-2767.