During Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, the American Red Cross urges eligible donors to give blood or platelets to provide hope and healing to patients fighting cancer. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women, and more than 268,000 women are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.
In August 2016, Myel Bowers-Smith went to the doctor for what she thought was a breast infection for a mosquito bite after a vacation in Cancun. Instead, she received the devastating diagnosis — she had stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer, a very rare and aggressive breast carcinoma.
Bowers-Smith, a US Army veteran, committed to fighting for her life.
“Once I began fighting, I knew I had to remain strong,” she said. Her aggressive care plan included five different chemotherapy treatments and steroids.
Like many patients with cancer, Bower-Smith needed multiple blood product transfusions. Cancer patients undergoing surgery and chemotherapy may require red blood cell or platelet transfusions. In fact, more than half of all platelets collected by the Red Cross are used by patients with cancer.
After months of grueling treatments, in August 2017, Bowers-Smith celebrated the news that her cancer was in remission. Today, she enjoys sharing her story and encouraging others to be a blessing by donating blood or platelets.
“Eligible donors, you have something good – which is your blood. A pint of blood can help save lives,” Bowers-Smith said.
Donors of all blood types, especially platelet donors and those with type O blood, are needed to ensure a stable supply for cancer patients and others this fall.
From Oct. 16 through the end of the month, appointments can be made by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling (800) RED CROSS (800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
As a thank-you, those who come to give blood or platelets during the month of October will automatically be entered for a chance to win one of five $500 gift cards redeemable at hundreds of merchants, courtesy of Tango Card. Terms apply; see rcblood.org/game.
Donor locations in the San Fernando Valley include:
Oct. 17, 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Burbank Elk’s Lodge #1497, 2232 N. Hollywood Way; Oct. 18, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, 501 S. Buena Vista; Oct. 20, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Redeemer Church, 2201 W. Alameda Ave., and 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., CityLight LA Church, 1110 S. Victory Blvd.; Oct. 22, 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Burbank Elk’s Lodge #1497, 2232 N. Hollywood Way; Oct. 31, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Burbank Elk’s Lodge #1497, 2232 N. Hollywood Way.
Oct. 23, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., Chatsworth High School, 10027 Lurline Ave.; Oct. 27, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., St. John Eudes Catholic Church, 9901 Mason Ave.
Oct. 18, 11:45 a.m. – 5:45 p.m., Granada Hills Pavillion, 11128 Balboa Blvd.; Oct. 21, 11:45 a.m. – 5:45 p.m., Granada Hills Pavillion, 11128 Balboa Blvd.
Oct.18, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., St. Paul’s First Lutheran School, 11330 McCormick St.
Oct. 21, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., California State University Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St.; Oct. 22, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., California State University Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St.
Oct. 24, 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center, 12953 Branford St.; Oct. 26, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center, 12953 Branford St.
Oct. 27, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., Our Lady of Lourdes, 7344 Apperson St.
Oct. 21, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Los Angeles Valley College Monarch Hall, 5800 Fulton Ave.
Oct. 24, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., Department of Motor Vehicles, 14920 Vanowen St.
Oct. 16 to Oct. 31, Woodland Hills Blood Donation Center, 6338 Variel Ave. Call the donation center for available appointment times.