Blood donations needed as cancer patients resume care after challenging year

American Red Cross and American Cancer Society partner to help patients and encourage donors to Give Blood to Give Time

CLEVELAND, June 7, 2021 – The American Red Cross and the American Cancer Society have teamed up this June to encourage people across the country to Give Blood to Give Time and help ensure loved ones have the strength and support they need as they undergo cancer treatment.

According to the American Cancer Society, many patient visits and procedures were forced to delay or cancel early in the pandemic to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. With procedures resuming, blood donations are critical for cancer treatments. Unfortunately, the Red Cross is seeing fewer blood and platelet donors give as the nation begins to climb out of this pandemic. This downturn comes at a time when the Red Cross continues to see strong demand for blood products − including platelets − by hospitals, causing concern for the sufficiency of the blood supply this month and throughout the summer.

The Red Cross currently has an emergency need for eligible donors in Northern Ohio to make an appointment now to give platelets to ensure critical patient needs are met. Platelets, the clotting portion of blood primarily given to cancer patients during treatment, must be transfused within five days of donation and, therefore, are always in great demand.

“Many cancer patients, especially those going through chemotherapy, will have a need for blood products during treatment,” said Dr. Baia Lasky, medical director for the Red Cross. “When someone donates blood or platelets, they may not only help prevent life-threatening bleeding that can cause stroke or relieve some symptoms, like shortness of breath and headaches, but also give patients and their families the time and hope they need to fight back.”

Some types of chemotherapy can damage bone marrow, reducing red blood cell and platelet production. Other times, the cancer itself or surgical procedures cause the need for blood products. About six blood products are needed every minute to help someone going through cancer treatment. Yet only 3% of people in the U.S. give blood. It is vital that more people donate blood and platelets regularly to meet that need.

To schedule a blood or platelet donation appointment, visit GiveBloodToGiveTime.org. As a special thank-you, those who come to donate through June 13 will receive a limited-edition Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.

“The need for blood in cancer treatments is an important and untold story,” said Howard Byck, senior vice president of corporate and sports alliances, American Cancer Society. “The American Cancer Society is excited to be working with the Red Cross on Give Blood to Give Time. Through this partnership, we want people to know there are multiple ways they can help and make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients and their families.”

The Red Cross not only has an emergency need for platelets, but also for type O blood donors, as hospital demand for these blood products continues to outpace donations.Type O blood is the most needed blood group by hospitals. Type O positive is the most transfused blood type and can be transfused to Rh-positive patients of any blood type. 

Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations. Visit redcrossblood.org to find the blood drive that fits your schedule.

Don’t assume you can’t donate blood

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

“You can’t do that!”

He heard it more than once, from more than one well-wishing, but uninformed friend and acquaintance.

Cleveland City Councilman Kevin Conwell represents Ward 9, including Glenville and part of University Circle, north of Euclid Avenue. Honored in Washington as National Father of the Year, Conwell has served on City Council since 2001.

Conwell was a frequent blood donor, repeatedly donating since 2004. “I would donate as often as I could,” said Conwell. “We often held blood drives right in the lobby of city hall, that made it easy for us to donate.”

Then Conwell was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2013. With quick detection of the cancer, and treatment at the Cleveland Clinic, Conwell kicked the disease and has been cancer-free for a number of years.

“When I talked about donating again, friends would repeatedly tell me, ‘You can’t donate blood after receiving chemotherapy. There’s no way.’”

Then Conway got a phone call from the American Red Cross, asking if they could schedule a blood donation for him.

“You don’t want my blood,” he said. “I’ve had chemo treatments for colon cancer.”

“Are you still receiving chemo treatments?” the operator asked.

“No, I’ve been done with those for a couple years,” Conway replied.

“Well, good then. Let me make you an appointment. You are clear to donate,” explained the operator.

And he did. And he continues to donate.

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“I tell everyone I talk to at City Council that ‘Yes, you can donate after colon cancer.’ They are usually surprised.”

_ _ _ _ _

It’s a common misconception that certain infections, afflictions or diseases will disqualify you from donating. But don’t assume. There’s an easy way to find out for sure.

Call the Red Cross Donor Suitability line at 1-866-236-3276. Tell them any health concerns you have, and a trained professional will be able to tell you whether you can donate today or if maybe you need to wait a certain amount of time before you donate.

There’s a severe shortage of blood and platelets this year. With the severe winter weather we experienced, many blood drives had to be canceled. Even before that, there was a great demand for blood following many of the national disasters late last year.

Make the call. Only about 40 percent of the population can donate, and merely 10 percent of them actually do.

Make an appointment to give blood or platelets by downloading the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Editor’s note: Councilman Conwell’s story has been shared on the national Red Cross website, with the hope of reaching a wider audience with his message.  You can access the story here. 

The ABCs of Donating A, B, A/B and O

What All Donors Need To Know Before Rolling Up Their Sleeves

By Christy Peters, External Communications Manager, Biomedical Services

The need for lifesaving blood and platelets is constant. In fact, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion. And your contribution is important for a stable and reliable blood supply. But before you schedule your appointment to donate blood, here is information to ensure you’re prepared for a successful donation.

To donate blood, you must be:

  • At least 17 years-old in most states, or 16 years-old with parental consent if allowed by state law (such as Ohio).
  • You must weigh at least 110 pounds
  • You must be in good general health and feeling well on the day of your donation.

Prior to your blood donation, make sure you drink plenty of water and eat a healthy meal. When you come to give, you will also be asked to show a donor card, driver’s license, or other form(s) of ID.

The entire blood donation process takes about an hour from start to finish. It consists of :

  • Registration
  • A mini-physical
  • The actual donation
  • Refreshments!

The actual blood donation takes about 8-10 minutes and you will donate one pint of blood (the average person has 10-12 pints). Your one pint consists of three components, red blood cells, platelets and plasma and each one can be given to a different patient based on their need. With each blood donation you have the potential to help save up to three lives!

Join the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross and make an appointment now to give blood. Download the free Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Donate Blood and Platelets During National Preparedness Month

As the American Red Cross responds to wildfires and historic hurricanes, eligible donors are reminded that giving blood or platelet donations during National Preparedness Month in September is one way to help ensure the Red Cross is prepared to respond to patient emergencies across the country every day.

IMG_3757Hurricane Irma has forced the cancellation of dozens of Red Cross blood drives in the Southeast, resulting in more than 2,100 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Natural disasters like hurricanes can disrupt blood drives and prevent donors from giving, but hospital patients still depend on lifesaving transfusions. Volunteer blood and platelet donors are the only source for blood products needed by hospital patients.

Blood Donors

Individuals in parts of the country unaffected by Hurricane Irma are encouraged to give blood or platelets to help ensure a sufficient blood supply. All blood types are currently needed. Appointments can be made by using the Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS. To help reduce wait times, donors are encouraged to make appointments and use RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questions online, on the day of their donation, from a computer or mobile device at redcrossblood.org/rapidpass.

As a thank-you, those who come to donate blood or platelets through Sept. 30, 2017, will receive a coupon for a free haircut at participating Sport Clips locations. More information is available at redcrossblood.org/sport-clips.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

Ashland County

9/18/2017: 12:30 p.m. – 4 p.m., Trinity Lutheran Church, 508 Center Street

9/23/2017: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Peace Lutheran Church, 1360 Smith Road

9/26/2017: 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Crestview High School, 1575 SR 96

Jeromesville

9/18/2017: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m., Jeromesville United Methodist Church, 40 North Street

Loudonville

9/25/2017: 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., Mohicanville Community Church, 347 State Route 95

9/27/2017: 2 p.m. – 6 p.m., Loudonville Lions Club, 643 Wooster Road

Holmes County

Millersburg

9/19/2017: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., West Holmes Middle School, 10901 State Route 39

9/21/2017: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Paint Valley Parts, Ltd, 10850 County Road 320

9/25/2017: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m., Bowman Harness, 6928 County Road 77

9/27/2017: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Yoder Lumber Company, 4515 Township Road 367

Nashville

9/29/2017: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Nashville Church of Christ, 13457 State Route 39

Medina County

Brunswick

9/16/2017: 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Brunswick Community Recreation & Fitness Center, 3637 Center Road

9/17/2017: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m., Xerxes Athletics, 424 Pearl Road

9/18/2017: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Brunswick United Methodist Church, 1395 Pearl Road

Medina

9/19/2017: 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Western Reserve Masonic Community, 4931 Nettleton Road

9/19/2017: 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., Fenn Elementary School, 320 N. Spring Grove

9/22/2017: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Medina Community Recreation Center, 855 Weymouth Road

9/23/2017: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Living Hope Church, 6628 Wooster Pike

Seville

9/18/2017: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Seville United Methodist Church, 74 West Main Street

Summit County

Akron

9/16/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/17/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/18/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/19/2017: 12:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/20/2017: 12:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/21/2017: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Cleveland Clinic Akron General, 1 Akron General Avenue

9/21/2017: 12:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/22/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/23/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/24/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/25/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/26/2017: 12:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/27/2017: 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., East Community Learning Center, 80 Brittain Road

9/27/2017: 12:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/28/2017: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., Manchester High School, 437 West Nimisila Road

9/28/2017: 12:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/28/2017: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Our Lady of the Elms High School, 1375 West Exchange Street

9/29/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/30/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

Barberton

9/21/2017: 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., BWX Technologies, 91 Stirling Avenue

Copley

9/25/2017: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., The HUB Community Center, 3676 Community Lane, Suite 100

Cuyahoga Falls

9/18/2017: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., St Lukes Lutheran Church, 2121 Sixth Street

Hudson

9/27/2017: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Barlow Community Center, 41 South Oviatt

Norton

9/18/2017: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Johnson United Methodist Church, 3409 Johnson Road

Tallmadge

9/18/2017: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Our Lady of Victory, 73 North Ave

9/22/2017: 7:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Tallmadge High School, 140 N. Munroe Road

9/30/2017: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Tallmadge Library, 90 Community Rd

Twinsburg

9/25/2017: 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Twinsburg Public Library, 10050 Ravenna Road

Wayne County

New Pittsburg

9/19/2017: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m., St Peter Lutheran Church, 9451 Ashland Rd.

Orrville

9/20/2017: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Student Life Center, 1901 Smucker Rd.

9/21/2017: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Kingsway Christian School, 11138 Old Lincoln Way E.

Shreve

9/25/2017: 1:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., American Legion Post 67, 10094 Shreve Rd.

Wooster

9/16/2017: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., American Red Cross Wayne County Chapter, 244 West South St.

9/26/2017: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute, 1328 Dover Rd.

9/28/2017: 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., College of Wooster, 1189 Beall Ave.

9/28/2017: 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., College of Wooster, 1189 Beall Ave.

More information about how the Red Cross is responding to hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the western wildfires and other disasters is available at redcross.org.

 How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. 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 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.