WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — No one ever wants to hear their doctor say, “you have cancer”. Yet one in two women and one in three men in the U.S. will develop cancer in their lifetime. Cancer takes a steep toll including on our nation’s blood supply.
There are nearly 80,000 new cases of cancer in Pennsylvania alone each year. Many of those patients will need blood. As Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller explains, it’s why a new awareness campaign aims to help patients like them and everyone who needs blood transfusions.
It’s a fact. Patients battling cancer require more blood and blood products than anyone battling any other disease. It’s why the American Red Cross and the American Cancer Society have joined forces for a new campaign called Give Blood to Give Time.
“About a quarter of the blood that we provide goes to transfused cancer patients,” said American Red Cross President/CEO Gail McGovern. She has witnessed the need for donor blood first-hand.
“Almost every time that he received chemotherapy he was transfused,” said Ms. McGovern.
Her husband was stricken with cancer in 1992.
“He was diagnosed with lymphoma with a very poor prognosis and he was bombarded with chemotherapy.”
Certain kinds of chemotherapy damage bone marrow which reduces the production of red blood cells and platelets. Five units of blood are transfused each minute to help cancer patients in need.
Ms. McGovern said, “So, it’s important for the American public to know how much the need is out there so people will be inspired to donate.”
Give Blood to Give Time is more than just about increasing the number of blood donations. It also looks to generate important funding. Ms. McGovern believes the campaign will help give patients and their families time, resources and the hope they need to fight back.
“If you can’t donate blood for whatever reason, you can give a financial donation and that will go to things like cancer research, etc. so there are different ways that you can help,” Ms. McGovern said.
Give Blood to Give Time began February 10 and continues through the end of the month.