The Shehadey Tower at the Save Mart Center at Fresno State will be lit red at 5 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12, in observance of Blood Cancer Awareness Month as part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Turn It Red Campaign that includes national landmarks across the country being lit red to mark the fight against the third-leading cancer killer.
Participating local organizers will meet Tuesday morning at the Shehadey Tower located at Shaw and Chestnut avenues to launch the month-long observance designed to remind the public that, despite progress, much work still needs to be done to save more lives.
The event also kicks off the University’s first blood drive of the academic year that includes a bone marrow donor registry drive from Sept. 12 through 14.
“Every 3 minutes, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with a blood cancer such as leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma,” said Tosha Giuffrida, adviser for the Be the Match chapter at Fresno State that is conducting the marrow registry events as part of three campus blood drives coordinated by the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning with the Central California Blood Center “There are no means of preventing or screening for most blood cancers and they are the third leading cancer killer of Americans.”
The campus blood drives this week will kick off from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12, in the University Dining Hall and continue Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 13 and 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bloodmobiles will be parked near the University Student Union and at the Maple Mall (south of the Satellite Student Union).
The Be the Match campaign is seeking donors from diverse backgrounds and is currently in need of Hispanic and African-American donors, Giuffrida said.
For Blood Cancer Awareness month, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has engaged several iconic national landmarks that will be lit red to raise awareness, such as Niagara Falls in New York, and the LAX Pylons at the Los Angeles International Airport.
“We’re thrilled that one of Fresno’s most well-known and symbolic buildings is turning red this month,” said Debbie Truhett, executive director of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. “During Blood Cancer Awareness Month this September, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is reminding everyone that while breakthrough therapies are saving lives, work still needs to be done to find a cure — not someday, but today.”
For patients like Marcus Cato, 22, of Fresno, the work of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Be the Match and Central California Blood Center has been lifesaving, Truhett said.
After being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in May 2016, Cato’s family held bone marrow donation drives. He found a donor match and received his stem cell transplant one year ago, Sept. 8.
For more information about Fresno State’s Turn It Red event or the student chapter, contact Giuffrida at 559.278.5716 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and its national campaign, contact Bethanie Mills at 559.490.6949 or email@example.com. For the Fresno State blood drives, contact Taylan Bennett at 559.278.7063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: www.lls.org/central-california
Central California Blood Center: www.donateblood.org