American Red Cross donors are helping save the lives of the people in need of blood and platelet transfusions each and every day. Almost all patients in need of transfusions have stories about how the generosity of donors touched their lives and the lives of their families.
MEET JANICE J. Two years ago, Janice J. received the news that no one wants to hear; she had been diagnosed with uterine cancer. For the next four months, she battled her cancer into remission.
Janice underwent two surgeries, six rounds of chemotherapy and another four rounds of radiation. By her last round of chemo, she was left severely anemic, a side-effect caused by her surgeries and treatment.
“I was having problems getting enough oxygen just walking around in my house,” said Janice. “My brother and sister had to help me up the stairs.” To help combat her anemia, Janice received two blood transfusions. One of those transfusions was from her brother, an avid blood donor with the Red Cross for many years.
“Having chemo on schedule is very important, it gives you the best chance at survival,” she said. “Without the transfusions, I would not have been able to have my last round on schedule.”
After that last chemo treatment and those two blood transfusions, Janice’s cancer went into remission in August 2011.She’s been in remission ever since.
Today, Janice is able to enjoy swimming and hiking again, and has even found a place she loves to volunteer -- a knitting club at the Cancer Support Center.
“The sky is bluer and the trees are prettier,” she said. “Every day is a gift now.”
As someone who has both given and received blood, Janice understands the importance of donating through the Red Cross, and encourages others to do so. “When you give blood, you're giving life,” she said gratefully.
SUMMER OF STORIES Many patients like Janice have stories about how the generosity of blood donors touched their lives and the lives of their families. This summer is a good time for everyone – patients and blood donors alike – to share their stories.
The Red Cross “Summer of Stories” program helps encourage blood donations and recognize everyone who supports Red Cross blood drives. There are several promotional campaigns throughout the summer. The next begins July 1 and runs through July 15. All presenting donors will be eligible for the chance to win one of five $1,000 American Express gift cards to create their own summer stories. Visit www.redcrossblood.org/summer for details.
HOW TO GIVE For more information about donating blood, or to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets, please visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Individuals who are at least 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and be in 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.