Oct. 5, 2020 — One in eight U.S. women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. The cancer therapies and surgeries they undergo may result in the need for transfusions of red blood cells, platelets and plasma. By giving blood through Vitalant in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, donors can support cancer patients like Loucinda Davis.
Davis was in her 30s when she received a devastating breast cancer diagnosis. Chemotherapy treatments and their side effects were rough enough – then she needed platelets, which weren't immediately available. “I could have died without platelets, which are extremely important to cancer patients like me,” she said. Platelets are a key clotting component of blood. She also received two red blood cell transfusions during her treatment and has been cancer-free for four years. “Every year that goes by is one more year to be thankful to be alive!”
Canceled Blood Drives Continue During Pandemic
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, canceled high school and college blood drives make it challenging to maintain a sufficient blood supply for cancer patients and others in need.
“Blood donors are increasingly needed at donation centers and community blood drives to make up the shortfall from canceled school blood drives,” said Cliff Numark, chief of marketing and senior vice president of donor services at Vitalant. “With virtual and reduced in-person learning now the norm, more than 800 high school and college blood drives scheduled with Vitalant across the U.S. have been forced to cancel so far in September and October – creating a shortfall of 27,000 uncollected donations. It’s vital for patients to have enough blood on hand and we can only do that with generous blood donors stepping up to give blood now.”
All Blood Donations are Tested for COVID-19 Antibodies
Vitalant continues to test blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies to find potential donors who could give convalescent plasma in the future. Donors whose blood tests positive for antibodies can help a COVID-19 patient with their plasma while their other blood components could help a cancer patient, trauma victim or someone with another serious medical condition. Testing positive for antibodies also puts donors on a unique track to donate convalescent plasma regularly – and join others as part of the COVID Rescue Team – to help even more COVID-19 patients.
How to Donate Blood
To learn more and schedule an appointment to give, please click the donate button above or call 877-25-VITAL (877-258-4825).