SYRACUSE — During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month this September, the American Red Cross encourages eligible donors to give blood 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.
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.
Sport Clips and Red Cross partnership highlights childhood cancer awareness
Donors can do good and look good this September when they donate blood or platelets with the Red Cross and get a free haircut coupon from Sport Clips Haircuts – a supporter of childhood cancer research – during the annual Saving Lives Never Looked So Good campaign.
Those who come to give blood or platelets Sept. 1-30 will receive a coupon for a free haircut via email several days after their donation. The coupon is valid through Nov. 30, at participating Sport Clips locations. Donors must have a valid email address on record to receive the coupon.
Important COVID-19 information for donors
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. Donors can expect to receive the results of their antibody test within 7 to 10 days through the Red Cross Blood Donor App or the donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.
The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities Sept. 1-15
11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sept. 1, American Legion Post 915, 3301 Fulton Avenue, Central Square
1-6 p.m. Sept. 9, Constantia VFW, 1560 State Route 49, Constantia
1-6 p.m. Sept. 2, Church of the Nazarene, 914 Utica St., Fulton
12:30-5:30 p.m. Sept. 2, Believers Chapel, 614 S. Fourth St. (Route 481), Fulton
1-6 p.m. Sept. 8, Volney Fire Department, 3002 State Route 3, Fulton
1-6 p.m. Sept. 10, Holy Trinity Parish, 300 Buffalo St., Fulton
noon-5 p.m., Sept. 2, Hannibal Town Hall, 824 County Route 34, Hannibal
1-6 p.m. Sept. 9, Oswego American Legion, 69 W. Bridge St., Oswego
11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sept. 11, St. Joe’s Catholic Church, 240 W. First St., Oswego
1-6 p.m., Sept. 3, Sandy Pond Sportsman Association, 3201 County Route 15, Pulaski
12:30-6:30 p.m. Sept. 14, Sandy Creek United Methodist Church, 2031 Harwood Drive, Sandy Creek
1-6 p.m. Sept. 10, West Monroe Fire Department, 54 County Route 11, West Monroe
How to donate blood
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.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.