ST. LOUIS -- The American Red Cross office in St. Louis is issuing an emergency appeal for blood, saying that unless donors come forward, the existing supply will be gone by New Year's Day. The blood supply has been severely affected by the flu and the holiday season, said Christine Bales, chief executive officer of the Red Cross Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region. Bales said the region's blood supply is down 26 percent compared to a year ago. That equates to about 1,400 units of blood. Officials hope to collect at least 1,800 additional units to meet hospital demand.