During Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, the American Red Cross urges eligible donors to give blood or platelets to provide hope and healing to patients fighting cancer.

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women, and more than 268,000 women are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

Many patients with cancer need multiple blood product transfusions, according to the Red Cross. Cancer patients undergoing surgery and chemotherapy may require red blood cell or platelet transfusions. In fact, more than half of all platelets collected by the Red Cross are used by patients with cancer.

Donors of all blood types, especially platelet donors and those with type O blood, are needed to ensure a stable supply for cancer patients and others this fall. Appointments can be made by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling (800) 733-2767 or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

During the month of October, donors will automatically be entered for a chance to win one of five $500 gift cards redeemable at hundreds of merchants.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

Cattaraugus County

Allegany: Oct. 17, noon to 5:30 p.m., Fireman’s Community Center, 188 W. Main St.

Ellicottville: Oct. 18, 1 to 6 p.m., St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 6360 Route 242 East.

Delevan: Oct. 23, 1:30 to 6:30 p.m., Delevan Fire Fighters Training Center, 1006 N. Main St.

Gowanda: Oct. 23, noon to 5 p.m., American Legion Post 409, 100 Legion Drive.

Salamanca: Oct. 31, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Salamanca High School, 50 Iroquois Drive.

Allegany County

Belfast: Oct. 17, 1 to 6 p.m., Belfast Central School, 1 King St.

Friendship: Oct. 22, 1 to 7 p.m., Friendship Central School, 46 W. Main St.

Whitesville: Oct. 22, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Whitesville Central School, 692 Main St.

Jim Eckstrom is executive editor of the Olean Times Herald and Bradford Publishing Co. His email is jeckstrom@oleantimesherald.com.)