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Donate blood to help those fighting breast cancer

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, the American Red Cross urges eligible donors to band together to provide hope and healing to patients fighting cancer by giving blood or platelets.

Donors are asked to make appointments by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, going online to RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Donors of all blood types are urged to help ensure a stable supply for cancer patients and others this fall.

Blood donations play a crucial role in cancer treatment. Cancer patients undergoing surgery and chemotherapy may require red blood cell or platelet transfusions. In fact, patients fighting cancer need more blood than those with any other disease, using nearly one-quarter of the nation’s blood supply.

The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual developed COVID-19 symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation collected from COVID-19 survivors that have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus.

COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within one to two weeks in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity. The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions — including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff — have been implemented to help protect the health of those participating. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment and are required to wear a face covering or mask, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities include:

— 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21, First Presbyterian Church, 395 Hamilton Ave., Kingsford.

— 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, Christ United Methodist Church, 20 S. Fifth St., Crystal Falls.

— 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, Norway High School, 300 Section St., Norway.

— 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15, First Presbyterian Church, 395 Hamilton Ave., Kingsford.

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. 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 (or 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.

The UP Regional Blood Center also is experiencing a critical need for B negative, O negative, A negative and A positive. The UP Regional Blood Center has collection sites in Marquette, Hancock and Escanaba and is the primary supplier of blood to 13 U.P. hospitals.

Some of its upcoming drives in the area include:

— 1-5 p.m. Thursday at Lakeland Baptist Church, 950 Lalley Road, Iron River.

— 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, Knights of Columbus Kingsford, 520 Breitung Ave., Kingsford.

— 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Tadych’s Family Market, 600 S. Stephenson Ave., Iron Mountain.

— 2:30-6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 2, Our Saviours Lutheran Church, Iron Mountain.

— 12:30-5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, United Lutheran Church, 506 Superior Ave., Crystal Falls.

— 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20, First Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1210 S. Stephenson Ave., Iron Mountain.

For more center details and blood drive locations, go to their Facebook page at UPRBC906 or website at http://www.mgh.org/blood.

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