PORTER COUNTY | The American Red Cross is urging blood donations this month to help support the initiatives of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and National Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month.
“Our blood donors help make a difference for many types of patients, including children with cancer and those who need ongoing treatment for sickle cell disease,” said Sharyn Whitman, CEO Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region. “Blood transfusions are crucial to both groups of individuals and play an important part in helping to extend and save their lives.”
According to the American Cancer Society’s webpage, about 11,630 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2013. Cancer patients need frequent transfusions, often involving multiple blood products, particularly during chemotherapy and radiation therapies.
Blood transfusions also help those who have sickle cell disease, an inherited blood disorder that occurs more commonly in African-Americans, but can also affect other ethnic groups. The distorted red blood cells in SCD patients can cause physical pain, stroke, anemia and organ damage. Although there is no cure, multiple red blood cell transfusions can help protect SCD patients from some of the complications of the disease.
“Steady and consistent blood donations are key to a strong blood supply,” said Whitman. “There is a wide variety of medical conditions requiring blood transfusion, and the only source are volunteer blood donors.”
Residents have the opportunity to donate at these local blood drives:
• Noon to 6 p.m. Monday at St. Paul Catholic Church in the social hall, 1855 W. Harrison Blvd., Valparaiso.
• 3 to 7 p.m. Monday at the Boys & Girls Club of Porter County in the second gymnasium, 5895 Evergreen, Portage.
• 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Porter Lakes Elementary School in the cafeteria, 208 S. County Road 725 West, Hebron. This is a Pint Size Heroes blood drive.
• 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at Portage Avenue Baptist Church, 6605 Portage Ave., Portage.
• 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday at Our Lady of Sorrows in Franciscan Hall, 356 W. County Road 700 North, Valparaiso.
• 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Duke of Oil, 3 E. U.S. 6, Valparaiso.
• 1 to 7 p.m. Sept. 16 at St. Teresa of Avila in the Catholic Student Center, 1604 Lincolnway, Valparaiso. Come to donate and receive a coupon for a free Varsity haircut at participating Sport Clips locations.
• 2 to 7 p.m. Sept. 17 at The Gathering Place in the meeting room, 131 N. Main St., Hebron.
• 4 to 8 p.m. Sept. 18 at Heritage Lutheran Church in the fellowship hall, 308 Washington St., Valparaiso.
• 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 23 at St. Peter Lutheran Church in the kitchen and social hall, 6540 Central Ave., Portage.
• 2:30 to 6 p.m. Sept. 24 at Faith Memorial Lutheran Church, 753 N. Calumet, Valparaiso.
• 3 to 7 p.m. Sept. 26 at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 505 Bullseye Lake Road, Valparaiso.
• 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the First United Methodist Church of Portage in the fellowship hall, 2637 McCool Road, Portage.
• 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 29 at Walmart, 2400 Morthland Drive, Valparaiso. Come to donate and receive a coupon for a free Varsity haircut at participating Sport Clips locations. This blood drive is sponsored by Woodforest National Bank.
To schedule an appointment to donate, call (800) 733-2767 or visit redcrossblood.org for more information.