November 03, 2021
Why I donate blood regularly for cancer patients
BY Peter WT Pisters, M.D.
Last week, I had the opportunity to donate blood at MD Anderson’s Blood Bank. Blood donation continues to be so important for MD Anderson’s unique patient population, especially those with blood cancers, those in need of surgery and overall, any patient in need of blood type O. Our cancer patients require as much as 200 units of red blood cells and 600 units of platelets each day.
At a national level, we continue to experience a shortage of blood and patient need for blood never abates. And with more patients receiving care at MD Anderson compared to earlier in the pandemic, a secure supply of donors providing blood products is needed more than ever.
Our cancer patients are at the heart of every blood donation
I donate blood at MD Anderson’s Blood Bank every two months. As a cancer surgeon, I relied on our blood products as a critical resource to support our cancer patients’ recovery. Now, as president of MD Anderson, I feel it is my responsibility to lead by example and to lean in by donating regularly. I know that just a few minutes of my time to donate has the potential save up to three lives. By actively participating in this vital process, I know I am doing something that directly and immediately helps our patients and their families and supports a lifesaving outcome.
Many of our MD Anderson teammates have shared with me why they donate blood regularly: because donating whole blood only takes 30 to 45 minutes; because they or someone they love received blood when they needed it and they want to give back; or because they wish to help the patients we are privileged to care for each day.
Everyone can support blood donations
MD Anderson performs 180,000 blood transfusions each year, more than any other hospital in the country. Our Blood Bank strives to maintain a regular supply of all blood types to ensure the right blood is available for the patients who need it. The only way to ensure blood reaches MD Anderson patients is by donating at MD Anderson’s Blood Bank.
If you are eligible and have never donated or have not donated recently, make an appointment to donate blood or platelets at our centrally located Holly Hall Blood Donor Center, or find a blood drive near you. And check out these frequently asked questions to learn more about blood donations.
If you find you are not eligible, the most impactful thing you can do is spread the word to family and friends. Even one new donor can make a difference for our cancer patients. And remember, eligibility criteria, medication lists and travel restrictions can often change. The best way to know for sure if you are eligible to donate is to call the MD Anderson Blood Bank at 713-792-7777.
We are privileged to have a devoted Blood Bank team working tirelessly to care for our donors, support our patients and help sustain this important lifeline. I am also deeply inspired to see our teammates and our community members exemplifying MD Anderson’s core value of Caring by making regular plans to donate. It is this collective dedication and compassionate spirit that drives our mission to end cancer and makes MD Anderson an extraordinary place for our patients.
Schedule an appointment to donate blood or platelets online or by calling 713-792-7777.
By actively participating in this vital process, I know I am doing something that directly and immediately helps our patients and their families and supports a lifesaving outcome.
Peter WT Pisters, M.D.