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September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

American Red Cross Urges Donors to Help

(Nashville, Tenn., August 31, 2012) This September, the American Red Cross is honoring local families impacted by childhood cancer by asking donors to roll up their sleeves and help.

Each year in the U.S. approximately 13,400 children between the ages of birth and 19 years old are diagnosed with cancer, according to the American Childhood Cancer Institute. In addition, cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among U.S. children between infancy and age 15. Despite these startling facts, childhood cancer research remains vastly and consistently underfunded.

At the American Red Cross, our blood services team works around the clock to collect and process red blood cells as well as platelets that help cancer patients and especially those with Leukemia.

Thomas Raccuglia is one of hundreds of childhood cancer patients in the Tennessee Valley Blood Services Region who have relied on the generosity of blood donors in this area. When Thomas was 15, he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

“It was scary at first and then I realized I had no other choice but to fight and have faith that I would get better,” Raccuglia said. During his treatments at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Thomas used close to one hundred blood products. Thankfully, after three and a half years of treatments, Thomas won his battle with cancer, but he understands he didn’t do it alone. “If there weren’t people in the area who were willing to donate blood or platelets I wouldn’t be here today. I never knew how important it is to donate until I was sick. I want to say thanks to everyone who donates blood and platelets. When you do that, you give kids like me a chance at life.”

When you donate red blood cells, they can stay on the shelves for 42 days. Platelets are a five day product. We need about 500 platelet donors every month to meet our commitments to local hospitals.

Please roll up your sleeve and help a child in need by support American Red Cross during Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Simply visit redcrossblood.org/make-donation and make your appointment online.

September Blood Drives in your area:

9/4/12 1:00 PM 6:00 PM The Livery Stables 1104 Main Street Pleasant View

How to Donate Blood:

Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org for more information or to make an appointment. All blood types are needed to ensure the Red Cross maintains an adequate blood supply. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Donors must be in general good health, weigh at least 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old (16 with completed Parental Consent Form). New height and weight restrictions apply to donors 18 and younger.

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