Football running back and cancer survivor James Conner of the Arizona Cardinals is teaming up with the American Red Cross and American Cancer Society to urge people to Give Blood to Give Time to help patients battling cancer as the Red Cross announces a platelet shortage.
Conner, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2015, raises awareness about the important role blood can play during intensive chemotherapy and radiation treatments used to treat cancer, which can both damage the body’s ability to generate healthy blood cells and cause potentially life-threatening conditions. Blood transfusions from generous donors provide patients with critical clotting factors, proteins and antibodies needed to help them fight back.
“I believe people can help cancer patients fight back by donating blood and realizing how important that is,” Conner said. “The more you donate blood the more it gives people time. We can all do our part to make sure our loved ones have the strength and support to fight cancer by donating blood.”
Platelets, the key clotting factor in blood which are most often used by cancer patients and to treat other life-threatening illnesses and injuries, have a shelf life of just five days. This short shelf life makes it a challenge to ensure hospitals have enough platelets on hand for routine and emergency medical needs.
“Platelets play a critical role in the treatment of cancer for millions of Americans. Without a platelet transfusion, many cancer patients may not be able to receive the treatments they need,” said Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer of the American Red Cross. “The Red Cross is grateful for the support of James Conner and the American Cancer Society to increase awareness about the meaningful difference blood donors play in helping patients beat this terrible disease.”
After 12 rounds of chemotherapy over the span of a year, Conner announced that he was cancer free. View a video on James Conner’s experience here.
Giving blood to give time is a meaningful way to honor a loved one or show support for cancer patients who are battling or have battled cancer. To schedule a blood or platelet donation appointment visit GiveBloodToGiveTime.org.
One in three people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, with nearly 1.9 million new cancer cases expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2021. Patients fighting cancer use more blood than patients with any other disease. About six blood products are needed every minute of every day to help someone going through cancer treatment.
“Blood donations are critical for so many patients battling cancer,” said Howard Byck, Senior Vice President of Corporate and Sports Alliances at the American Cancer Society. “Cancer takes away so much, but this partnership with the American Red Cross and James Connor urging the public to give blood will ultimately help people dealing with cancer receive the lifesaving treatments they need.”
COVID-19 COMPLICATIONS The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented challenges to blood donations and in the care and treatment of cancer patients. According to the American Cancer Society, many patient visits and procedures were forced to be delayed or canceled early in the pandemic to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. And, while cancer deaths dropped at the onset of the pandemic, those rates will likely increase in the months and years to come due to delays in diagnosis and treatment.
To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in general good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.
Those who come to donate June 1 to 13 will receive a Red Cross T-shirt. Those who come to donate June 14 to 30 will receive a $5 Amazon.com gift card by email, thanks to our partners at Amazon.
Updated COVID-19 Safety Precautions
The Red Cross has updated its pandemic safety protocols in alignment with CDC and OSHA guidance. Fully vaccinated individuals including staff and blood donors will no longer need to wear masks or socially distance at Red Cross facilities or blood drives beginning May 21. Unvaccinated individuals will continue to be required to wear masks and socially distance at Red Cross facilities or blood drives.
For Media Only Contact:
American Cancer Society: firstname.lastname@example.org, (312) 909-9385
American Red Cross: email@example.com, (202) 303-5551
About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 1.5 million volunteers dedicated to saving lives, celebrating lives, and leading the fight for a world without cancer. From breakthrough research, to free lodging near treatment, a 24/7/365 live helpline, free rides to treatment, and convening powerful activists to create awareness and impact, the Society is the only organization attacking cancer from every angle. For more information go to www.cancer.org.