American Red Cross 36th Annual Donor Days: the importance of donating blood for cancer patients


PADUCAH, KY — Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood – and the American Red Cross says one of those donations can potentially save up to three lives.

Not only is giving blood so important for people with traumatic injuries, but it’s also important for cancer patients.

Dr. Wederson Claudino with Mercy Health says cancer requires a very extensive treatment process. Claudino says more than 80 percent of his patients develop anemia during cancer, which is when your blood doesn’t have healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin.

“They develop low blood counts during treatment and it’s very important that we have a good supply of those blood products to help the patient cope with the treatment,” Claudino said.

Laurie Urhahn is the blood bank supervisor at Lourdes Mercy Health – she says it doesn’t matter what kind of blood type you are – you’re making a difference whether your type A, B, AB, or O.

“There are very, very few of us who don’t know a friend or family member who has experienced cancer, requiring many blood transfusions,” Urhahn said. “School shootings, bus wrecks, ruptured spleens, gun accidents… I mean, I don’t think anybody doesn’t know somebody at some point who needs a blood transfusion.”

The American Red Cross says almost 38 percent of Americans are eligible to donate blood at any given time, so there’s a very good chance you meet the criteria.

This is what you need –

Good health: You can donate if you generally feel well, even if you’re being treated for a chronic condition.

You have to be at least 17 years old: 16-year-olds may donate if they have their parents’ permission in certain states.

You have to weight at least 110 lbs: Additional weight requirements apply for donors age 18 or younger and all high school donors.

You can donate blood at the Robert Cherry Civic Center in Paducah. It’s from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday. If you live in Illinois, you can donate your blood at Veteran’s Airport in Marion from 2 to 6 p.m.

If you want to donate blood, but can’t make it to the blood drive, you can make an appointment by calling 1-800-Red-Cross (1-800-733-2767).