American Red Cross and American Cancer Society collaborate to encourage donors to Give Blood to Give Time

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The American Red Cross and the American Cancer Society are collaborating to encourage people to donate blood for cancer treatment.

According to the American Cancer Society, many patient visits and procedures were forced to  delay or cancel early in the pandemic to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. With  procedures resuming, blood donations are critical for cancer treatments. 

The Red Cross is seeing fewer blood and platelet donors give as the nation begins to climb out of this  pandemic. This downturn comes at a time when the Red Cross continues to see strong demand for blood products, including platelets by hospitals, causing concern for the sufficiency of the blood supply this month and throughout the summer.  

The Red Cross has an emergency need for eligible donors in the Washington, D.C.and the Greater Chesapeake Region to make an appointment now to give platelets to ensure critical patient needs are met. 

To schedule a blood or platelet donation appointment, visit GiveBloodToGiveTime.org. As a special thank-you, those who come to donate through June 13 will receive a limited edition Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.  

The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies through July 24. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether they developed symptoms. 

Testing may also identify the presence of antibodies developed after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. 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. 

The Red Cross is also screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease.

Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.  

Donors can expect to receive antibody test and sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. 

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