Now is a good time to donate blood – and give the gift of life

January 21, 2015 | by Nicole White

Patients at City of Hope – most of whom are fighting cancer – rely on more than 37,000 units of blood and platelets each year for their treatment and survival.
Donate blood January is National Blood Donor Month. Donate blood to a cancer patient in need.
Every one of those units comes from family, friends or someone who traded an hour or so of their time and a pint of their blood to save lives. Science has yet to develop a replacement for human blood. January is National Blood Donor Month, and a good time to schedule a blood or platelet donation. Cancer patients need transfusions for many reasons. Those with leukemia or other blood cancers may have low red or white blood cell counts, as cancer crowds out the normal blood-making cells in their bodies. Patients who have had cancer for a long time may develop anemia. The kidneys or spleen, if affected by the cancer, may not be able to keep enough healthy cells in the bloodstream. Cancer treatments can lead to blood loss and create need for red blood cell or platelet transfusions. Many therapies also affect the bone marrow, leading to low blood counts. Patients who receive bone marrow or stem cell transplants have endured large doses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Their blood-making cells are destroyed as part of their treatment, and often need transfusions following their transplant.To donate, you need about an hour and 15 minutes for the entire process. The donation itself takes only about 10 minutes. Donors should be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds. If you’ve had cold or flu symptoms three days prior to your donations or don’t feel well on the day of the donation, reschedule. If you’ve taken antibiotics in the two days before donating or had major dental work 24 hours before the donation, you will not be able to donate. The Blood Donor Center at City of Hope offers complete guidelines and rules on who can donate blood. To make an appointment, visit www.idonateblood4hope.org. This video above shows what happens to blood after it is donated at City of Hope. Also, watch this recent segment of "Home & Family" about blood donation. ** Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion at City of Hope by visiting our website or by calling 800-826-HOPE (4673). City of Hope staff will explain what's required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.

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