Help Honor Cancer Patients by Giving Blood

September 30, 2009
News Release
Southeastern Michigan Blood Services Region
October 2009
Media Contact: Bridget Tuohey, 313-576-4184, cell 313-549-5414
About 1.5 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed by the end of 2009. By donating blood through the American Red Cross, you could give someone the hope they need to beat the disease.
“Your donation may give someone another day to spend with their loved ones, or even a second chance at life,” said Diane E. Ward, CEO for the Southeastern Michigan Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross. “Chances are, there’s someone in your very community who needs blood.”
Every day, hospital patients undergoing treatment for cancer may depend on the availability of blood and platelets to help with their ongoing care. Most radiation and chemotherapies, for instance, can lower blood counts for red cells, white cells and platelets, while cancer-related surgeries can cause blood loss. Long-term cancer patients, too, may sometimes experience anemia or low platelet counts. All these instances, and more, may prompt doctors to prescribe transfusions of blood or platelets.
“The need for blood products varies by patient and by type of cancer,” said Ward. “When you give through the Red Cross, you’ll help provide the blood and platelets patients need at 43 hospitals and cancer care facilities across Southeastern Michigan.”
The American Red Cross often hears from people who received blood for their cancer treatments and are now cancer-free. Recently, the Red Cross shortened the deferral criteria for donors with a history of nonhematologic cancer from five years to one year. Donors must be cancer-free for a year, have completed all their treatments, and meet all other eligibility criteria.
“If you’re a cancer survivor, and you’re eligible, we encourage you to donate blood,” said Ward. “It’s a great way to give back, and to help others in need.”
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Red Cross encourages people to consider giving blood as a way to recognize the role blood can play in the care and treatment of people with cancer.
How to Donate Blood
To schedule an appointment to donate please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543) or visit for more information. Individuals who are at least 17 years old, meet height and weight requirements (at least 110 pounds based on height), and are in general good health may be eligible to donate blood. Red Cross donor card or positive ID required.
About the American Red Cross
The Southeastern Michigan Blood Services Region serves five counties, and needs to collect about 900 units of blood a day to meet patient need in 43 hospitals. In addition to providing blood to our community, the American Red Cross also provides relief to victims of disaster, trains millions in lifesaving skills, serves as a communication link between U.S. military members and their families, and assists victims of international disasters or conflicts. 08/09AP914