During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month this September, the American Red Cross encourages eligible donors to give blood or platelets to support kids, teens and young adults battling cancer, as well as others in need of transfusions.
The National Cancer Institute estimates that more than 15,000 children and adolescents in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer each year. Childhood cancer patients may need blood products on a regular basis during chemotherapy, surgery or treatment for complications.
Cancer and cancer treatments can put patients at risk for low red blood cell and platelet counts. Some types of chemotherapy can damage bone marrow, lowering the production of red blood cells and platelets. Cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma attack the bone marrow as well. Blood and platelet transfusions can enable patients to receive critical treatments needed to fight and survive cancer.
Blood and platelet donations are needed to ensure blood products are available for pediatric cancer patients and others throughout this pandemic. As a thank-you, those who come to give Sept. 4-8 will receive a pair of Red Cross branded socks, while supplies last!
Make an appointment to donate by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Blood drives are also essential in helping ensure blood is available for patients this winter. To learn more and sign up to host a blood drive this fall and winter, visit RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.
Who blood donations help
Ansley Gilich is an outgoing, kind, funny and very smart 7-year-old who enjoys dancing and singing with her family and friends. Earlier this year, Ansley was diagnosed with b-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia – the most common type of childhood cancer – and has needed blood products during treatment.
“She is beautiful inside and out and is kicking cancer’s butt like the little warrior princess that she is,” said Michelle Gilich, Ansley’s mother, who joined family to host a blood drive to give back to other patients who also need blood. “We know there’s a need for blood products due to the coronavirus pandemic, and we want to help as much as we can.”
Sport Clips and Red Cross partnership highlights childhood cancer awareness
Donors can do good and look good this September when they donate blood or platelets with the Red Cross and get a free haircut coupon from Sport Clips Haircuts – a proud supporter of childhood cancer research – during the annual Saving Lives Never Looked So Good campaign.
Those who come to give blood or platelets Sept. 1-30 will receive a coupon for a free haircut via email several days after their donation. The coupon is valid through Nov. 30, 2020, at participating Sport Clips locations. Donors must have a valid email address on record to receive the coupon.
Donors are urged to make an appointment to donate using the free American Red Cross Blood Donor App, by visiting RedCrossBlood.org/sport-clips, by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or by enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. The Red Cross and Sport Clips encourage donors to use the hashtag #SavingLivesLooksGood to share their new looks and invite others to give.
Important COVID-19 information for donors
The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether they developed symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may qualify to be convalescent plasma donors. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation collected from COVID-19 survivors that have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus. Donors can expect to receive the results of their antibody test within 7 to 10 days through the Red Cross Blood Donor App or the donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.
The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.
How to donate blood
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 in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.