Grateful cancer survivor pays it forward after receiving blood and platelets

By Laura McGuire, American Red Cross

Tina Langness is a retired registered nurse and has seen the need for blood and platelets hundreds of times in her career, but she never imagined she would be the one in need.

In 2017, Langness was diagnosed with breast cancer. Through her year-and-a-half journey with cancer she endured chemotherapy, radiation, multiple surgeries, and through the ordeal, she required blood and platelets. Cancer free since June 2020, she shared her sense of gratitude for American Red Cross blood and platelet donors.

Langness has a simple message to all blood donors. “I love you! Thank you! You are da bomb,” said Langness. “You saved my life and inspired me to keep going and not give up. Your donations do more for people than you realize. Thank you for being unselfish and for making a difference.”

As a cancer survivor, it’s only natural for Langness to want to give back in the same manner that she was saved. In the fall of 2020, Langness started to donate her high demand Type O positive blood at American Red Cross community blood drives in New Richmond or Hudson, Wis. consistently every 56 days.

To encourage others who may be hesitant to donate Langness says, “I totally get it and I get you. I know it’s scary, it’s human nature to be afraid of the unknown and it is a bit of a commitment, but the feeling of knowing you are doing a really good thing and you are saving lives is absolutely incredible. Someday you, a close friend or a family member may be the one needing blood or platelets. It really can and does make a difference.”

This June, the Red Cross and the American Cancer Society have teamed up to encourage people across the country to Give Blood to Give Time and help ensure loved ones have the strength and support they need as they undergo cancer treatment. Patients fighting cancer need more blood than patients with any other disease, using nearly one-quarter of the nation’s blood supply. Individuals can honor their loved ones by making a blood or platelet donation appointment at GiveBloodToGiveTime.org.  

The Red Cross currently has an emergency need for eligible donors in Wisconsin to make an appointment now to give platelets to ensure critical patient needs are met. Platelets, the clotting portion of blood primarily given to cancer patients during treatment, must be transfused within five days of donation and, therefore, are always in great demand. In thanks for helping meet patient needs, all who come to donate through June 13 will receive a limited-edition Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.  

And Red Cross donors, volunteers and staff will continue to have Langness’s gratitude.

“I’ve always admired the American Red Cross and the volunteers and staff,” said Langness. “We are extremely lucky as a nation to have the services they provide. When disaster strikes, you know they will be there. However, it’s behind the scenes where the Red Cross really ticks and goes unnoticed. It’s really an inspiring organization!”

Every cancer survivor’s ability to donate blood will be determined on a case by case basis. Eligibility is ultimately determined by the type of cancer you had and the treatment you received. For eligibility requirements please visit redcrossblood.org.

Make an appointment to help someone like Tina. Click here and find a date and location that fit for you.

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