COLUMBUS — 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, a news release states.
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 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.
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.