Patients fighting cancer need more blood than patients fighting any other disease, using nearly one-quarter of the nation’s blood supply. That’s why this February, the American Red Cross and the American Cancer Society have teamed up to encourage people across the country to Give Blood to Give Time, ensuring loved ones have the strength and support to battle cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, one in three people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. An estimated 33,210 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Minnesota this year. Many of these people will likely have a need for blood.
“A loved one’s cancer diagnosis often makes families and friends feel helpless. That’s why the Give Blood to Give Time partnership with the American Cancer Society is so important,” said Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer, American Red Cross. “When someone donates blood or platelets or makes a financial gift, they are helping to give patients and their families time, resources and the hope they need to fight back.”
To schedule a blood or platelet donation appointment or make a financial gift, visit GiveBloodToGiveTime.org.
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 problem. Blood products are often needed. In fact, five units of blood are needed every minute to help someone going through cancer treatment. Yet only 3% of people in the United States give blood. More people are needed to donate regularly to help meet the need.
“The need for blood in cancer treatments is an important and untold story,” said Gary Reedy, chief executive officer of the 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.”
Individuals can honor their loved ones by making a blood donation appointment or financial contribution at GiveBloodToGiveTime.org.
Who blood donations help
In April 2015, Stephenie Perry was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma exactly 10 days before her commencement ceremony from graduate school. One week after commencement, treatments began. During chemotherapy and two stem cell transplants, she needed blood and platelet transfusions.
“I don’t even know how many units of blood I’ve received,” she said. “But I know all of that blood came from selfless individuals who made the decision to make an appointment and donate.”
Last February, Perry received the good news that her cancer is in remission. The next day, her then-boyfriend, Justin Perry, proposed to her – just in time for Valentine’s Day. They talked about marriage while she battled cancer, but they wanted to wait until she was in remission. Justin Perry said he didn’t want to go another day without asking her to marry him. They were married in September.
Her red blood cell counts still get low at times. When that happens, she goes in for another blood transfusion.
“I think it’s safe to say that my successful battle with cancer depended upon complete strangers and their donated blood. For this, I am grateful,” Stephenie Perry said. “Sometimes I hear stories from friends about people who are scared of needles or afraid to donate blood. I wish I could stand face-to-face with those people and tell them there is nothing scary about saving a life – a life like mine.”
•Rushford: February 18 from 12-6 p.m., MiEnergy Cooperative, 31110 Cooperative Way
•Houston: February 19 from 1:30-6:30 p.m., Ridgeway Community School, 35564 Winona County Road 12