HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Dr. Bo Hrom, a hematologist and oncologist at Hattiesburg, said in his line of work, he has seen first-hand that blood is important for cancer patients.
"Because those patients that are undergoing treatment frequently become severely anemic and have severe fatigue," Hrom said.
Hrom said those complications can cause a cancer patient to have lung and heart damage.
"These patients frequently require blood transfusions to decrease those risks," Hrom said.
Hrom said one in three patients on chemotherapy will need blood transfusions or platelet transfusion. He said platelets are crucial because they stop bleeding, but there is one problem.
"Very commonly, we have trouble finding platelets and we have had patients with severe bleeding, and we have had difficulty being able to get platelets for them," Hrom said.
As a blood donor himself, Hrom said giving blood is simple and it saves lives. United Blood Service Diversity Recruitment Rep. Joseph Gray can attest to the difference blood donation can make.
"My niece and my nephew died before the age of 32-years-old," Gray said.
He said his relatives died from complications with Sickle Cell disease. Gray said his loss drives him to recruit as many African Americans in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to give blood.
"Right around 14 to 16 percent of our donor base is African American. It may not sound like a huge number, but it's a much better number than we had, let's say, three or four years ago," Gray said.
He said African American donor numbers are climbing, but there is a need for more especially when one has to make sure the right blood is going to the right patient.
"People who do have the Sickle Cell trait can donate blood," Gray said. "We just are not going to give their blood to a Sickle Cell patient, or to someone else who has the Sickle Cell trait."
C-Spire Market Manager Reginald Townsend said he is making a pledge to donate.
"At the upcoming event, I am encouraging my employees to donate, as well as myself," Townsend said. "I will be donating."
On July 28, everyone can come to the C-Spire location at Cloverleaf Mall and give blood from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. You can make an appointment today or anytime and give blood when it is convenient for you, especially if you can't come July 28. Call 1.877.UBS.HERO (1.877.827.4376)