FORT WAYNE — September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and the American Red Cross is encouraging eligible donors to give blood to support children, teens and young adults battling cancer, as well as others in need of transfusions.

The National Cancer Institute estimated that more than 15,000 children and adolescents in the U.S. would be diagnosed with cancer last 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 and platelet transfusions can enable patients to receive critical treatments needed to fight and survive cancer.

Platelet donors and blood donors of all blood types are urgently needed to replenish the blood supply following a summer blood shortage. As a thank-you, those who come to give Aug. 30 to Sept. 3 will receive a unique Red Cross canvas tote bag, while supplies last.

Appointments to donate can be made 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. To learn more and sign up to host a blood drive, visit RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive. Here are locations in Elkhart County sponsoring drives in the coming days. 

Elkhart – Sept. 5, 1 to 6 p.m., Knights of Columbus, 112 E. Lexington Ave.

Goshen – Through Sept. 15, various dates and times, Goshen Blood Donation Center, 1123 S. Indiana; and Sept. 6, noon to 6 p.m., Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship, 2509 Berkey Ave.

Middlebury – Sept. 4, 9:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., Northridge High School, 56779 Northridge Drive

Nappanee – Sept. 3, noon to 6 p.m., Nappanee Missionary Church, 70417 S.R. 19 North

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification 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 generally 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.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. Instructions can be found at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or by using the Blood Donor App.

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