Blood donations needed as cancer patients resume care after challenging year

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 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 the Louisville, KY and
Evansville, IN area 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
“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 regularly to meet that need.
To schedule a blood or platelet donation appointment, visit
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.

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