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Blood donations needed to fight childhood cancer

During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month this September, the American Red Cross encourages eligible donors to give blood to support children, teens and young adults battling cancer, as well as others in need of transfusions, according to a press release.

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 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 to give Sept. 4 through Sept. 8 will receive a pair of Red Cross branded socks, while supplies last, the release stated.

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, the release stated. To learn more and sign up to host a blood drive this fall and winter, visit RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.

Upcoming blood drives in the Tribune’s coverage area are:

• Noon to 6 p.m. Thursday at Bridge Community Church, 2016 Bridge Ave. in Albert Lea

• 1 to 6 p.m. Sept. 14 at Geneva Community Center, 314 First Ave. SE in Geneva

• Noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 15 at Emmons Lutheran Church, 490 Pearl St. in Emmons.