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The American Red Cross is urging blood donations during September 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 (SCD), 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 at this time, 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:

·Tuesday, Sept. 17, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Indiana Purdue University, located at 2101 E. Coliseum Blvd. in Fort Wayne. Come to donate at this blood drive sponsored by Delta Sigma Pi and be entered into a drawing for a $50 shopping spree.

·Wednesday, Sept. 18, from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Third Place in the gymnasium, located at 1601 W. Cedar Canyon Road in Huntertown.

·Wednesday, Sept. 18, from 1 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. at Kelley Automotive, located at 633 Avenue of Autos in Fort Wayne. Come to donate and receive a coupon for a free Varsity haircut at participating Sport Clips locations.
·Saturday, Sept. 21, from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at Lucky Harley Davidson, located at 6315 Illinois Road in Fort Wayne. Come to donate and receive a coupon for a free Varsity haircut at participating Sport Clips locations.

·Tuesday, Sept. 24, from 1 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. at Tomkinson BMW, located at 929 Avenue of Autos in Fort Wayne.


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