Help Those Battling Cancer by Donating with the American Red Cross

October 12, 2012

An estimated 12 million Americans are presently living with or have been diagnosed with cancer. Many cancer patients need blood and blood products as a result of cancer treatments or to help treat the cancer itself. You can help those battling cancer by donating blood or platelets with the American Red Cross.

“At some point in our lives, we are all touched by cancer,” said Dr. Jose Lima, medical director, American Red Cross, Southern Blood Services Region. “Whether it is us or a loved one battling the disease, we will all be affected in some way. While each battle is different, the Red Cross is committed to providing the blood and blood products needed for those patients to have the best chance to be a survivor.”  

Cancer patients may need blood transfusions for a number of reasons, including anemia, low blood counts or surgical procedures. Additionally, chemotherapy drugs and radiation used to treat cancer can affect the bone marrow where platelets are produced. Platelets are the clotting factor in blood, and transfusions are often needed to help prevent life-threatening bleeding.

There is no substitute for blood, and volunteer donors are the only source. Red blood cells can be stored up to 42 days. Platelets, however, are very fragile and must be transfused within five days of collection.

Help support those battling cancer by donating blood or platelets. Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Platelets can be donated every seven days, up to 24 times a year. 

How to Donate Blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or click here to make an appointment. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. 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 permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are generally in 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. 

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent 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 click here or join our blog.