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.
According to the National Cancer Institute, 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.
Wren Jansen was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer, at age 3. In the two years since her diagnosis, Wren has received 16 blood and platelet transfusions, which she calls “unicorn juice,” thanks to a crafty nurse who used the term to calm her fears during treatment. These “magic” gifts from generous donors have helped restore Wren’s strength and spirit so she can be a normal 5-year-old and fight back against cancer.
In December, Wren and her family hope to mark a special milestone – the end of treatment and the battle with cancer won.
Blood and platelet donors of all blood types, especially type O negative and O positive, are urgently needed to replenish the blood supply following a critical summer blood shortage. As a thank-you, those who come to give blood or platelets Aug. 31-Sept. 4 will receive a Red Cross aluminum water bottle, while supplies last. Make an appointment to donate by downloading the free American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Upcoming blood drives, Sept. 14:
10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Newman Gym, 439 Bundy Ave
10 a.m. - 3 p.m., District Attorney's Office, 945 E. G. Miles Pkwy
Blood drives, Sept. 21:
8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Logistics Readiness Center, 1624 West 6th Street
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.