5 Ways You Can Help Cancer Patients - NFCR

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At the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR), we often talk about how a donation of any amount can significantly impact cancer research. However, we appreciate that it isn’t always possible to contribute monetarily – especially right after the holidays. Though NFCR focuses on funding game-changing and innovative studies by renowned research teams, there are many other ways to help cancer patients. While there are endless ways in which you can make a difference, here are our top five ways to support cancer patients in 2022. 

1. Blood Donations

Did you know 4.5 million Americans will need a blood transfusion this year? Unlike medicine, blood is not made in a laboratory, but many cancer patients rely on transfusions from donors. 

Donating blood only takes about 10 minutes, and doing so can save a life. First, you’ll need to find a local Red Cross blood drive or blood bank. Donors need to be at least 16 years old with proper identification, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, and be in overall good health.

Some things may prevent an individual from donating, including certain medications, health conditions, recent travel to certain countries, pregnancy, or a history of cancer. 

Immediately after a donation is complete, the donor receives a snack and will be monitored for a short period. It is advised to avoid heavy exercise for the rest of the day. Usually, the donor is invited to come again in eight weeks for another donation.

2. Join the Bone Marrow Registry 

Similar to blood donations, many cancer patients need bone marrow transplants to survive. By joining Be The Match Registry, you take the first step to provide more time for patients with blood cancers like leukemia and other marrow diseases.

Joining the registry requires a sample of cells, usually collected by swabbing the inside of your cheek. The sample compares specific protein markers, called human leukocyte antigens (HLA), with HLA markers of patients who need a bone marrow transplant.

Doctors search the Be The Match Registry to find donors with HLA markers that match their patients. When a match is found, steps are taken to ensure the donation is safe for those involved.

Once the donation is approved, the patient’s doctor will request one of two donation methods: 

  1. peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC) or 
  2. bone marrow, depending on which method is best for the patient.

After joining the registry, you may never be identified as a match, or you may be one of many potential matches. In some cases, you could be the only donor on the registry who could save a patient’s life. 

3. Fundraise

You don’t need to pull out your wallet to support cancer research – but you can inspire others too!

In 2021, Facebook announced that worldwide charitable giving on Facebook and Instagram had surpassed $5 billion from more than 85 million people in just five years since launching Fundraisers.

On each individual users’ birthday, the Facebook platform will ask the user if they would like to choose a charity to fundraise for as part of their birthday. Users just need to select a charity, and Facebook suggests a post to kickstart the fundraising. The initiative costs the user nothing, but the results have been amazing – causing a ripple effect of generosity. 

NFCR also offers unique fundraising opportunities, offering support every step of the way. Some of the most popular fundraising initiatives at NFCR include Play4TheCure and Arts4TheCure. Both allow individuals (or teams) to leverage their passion for sports or fine and performing arts to raise money for cancer research.

4. Shop with Charity

Whether shopping online or sending a loved one flowers, numerous organizations donate a portion of their profit to cancer research. Currently, NFCR works with several organizations, including Teleflora, Network for Good, Excl Oral Blue, and Good Cause Greetings. 

Check out www.nfcr.org/ways-to-give/online-shopping for more information.

5. Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to help the cancer community for those who have time or skills to give. Luckily, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities you can do from the comfort of your own home. 

NFCR, for example, welcomes volunteers to support marketing, fundraising, digital, and direct mail.

Additional Reads You May Enjoy: 

National Volunteer Month: Volunteering while in Self-Isolation

Learn from the Pros: Hosting a Cancer Awareness Game

5 Simple Ways to Make a Difference on World Cancer Day

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