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Junior League of Memphis, Vitalant to host blood drive to raise awareness in the fight against breast cancer

An emergency room physician spoke about how prevalent the need for blood donations is in the Mid-South.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Junior League Memphis and Vitalant are partnering to bring awareness to breast cancer and the need for blood donations. 

An emergency room physician spoke about how prevalent that need is in the Mid-South.

“Every two seconds in the United States, somebody is going to need a blood transfusion for a multitude of reasons,” said Dr. Kimberly Brown, emergency room physician and Junior League Memphis (JLM) member. 

That somebody could be you.

“Every day in the ER, I see people come in from car accidents. Sometimes women come in bleeding fibroids," she said. "They have very heavy bleeding and they need blood.”

To help drive home that message, JLM has joined with Vitalant in efforts to get more blood donors.

“Because it’s our centennial year, we are looking at getting at least 100 donors to donate blood. That blood will stay right here in the Memphis community,” said Dr. Brown.

The donations help with various needs, especially the fight against breast cancer.

“When you’re giving blood, you’re giving your whole blood … There are some red blood cells that run your oxygen and help give oxygen to other parts of your body. You also have platelets that are in your blood … Those are the first cells that go to the scene of the crime or to the site of the injury that stops the bleeding,” said Dr. Brown.

Those with breast cancer may have low platelets.

“Sometimes, patients will have very low platelets because of chemotherapy, maybe radiation,” said Dr. Brown.

Chemotherapy and radiation can also affect your body’s ability to make blood cells on its own.

“Chemotherapy and radiation especially are supposed to be targeting all the bad cells in your body, those cancer cells, but it’s very nonspecific at times. It can attack healthy cells and not-so-healthy cells,” said Dr. Brown.

More than 25% of donated blood goes to cancer patients. That's more than any other disease.

“Everybody makes their own red blood cells every 120 days. If you donate a pint of blood, you have five more pints to go,” said Dr. Brown. “What you donate will immediately impact one of your neighbors and one of the members of your community.”

It is an effort for us all to do our part in helping each other live healthy lives.

Junior League Memphis and Vitalant will be hosting a three-day blood drive Saturday, October 22, and Sunday, October 23 at the Junior League of Memphis Headquarters at 3475 Central Ave. and Monday, October 24, from 4-7 p.m. at Believing Church at 4798 Summer Ave.

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