GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Cancer patients need life-saving blood through transfusions that fight their disease and counter negative side effects of treatments they receive, like chemotherapy.

Receiving the gift of life totally depends on the kindness and generosity of blood donors. Blood donation saves lives, changes lives and helps those battling cancer lead more fulfilling lives as they battle the disease.

To support a Grand Rapids community organization that provides free emotional healthcare for cancer patients, their families and loved ones, Michigan Blood, part of Versiti, is again partnering with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network to support Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids and its annual LaughFest.

Three LaughFest blood drives will be held in Grand Rapids and its surrounding communities in February:

 

7 a.m.-6 p.m. Feb. 25

Michigan Blood

Grand Rapids Donor Center

1036 Fuller NE in Grand Rapids, MI 49503

 

10 a.m.-8 p.m. Feb. 28

Gun Lake Casino

1123 129th Ave. in Wayland, MI 49348;

must be age 21 or older; donors receive $10 in free slot play at the casino

Blue Care Network will donate $10 toward LaughFest’s High Five campaign in honor of each blood donor. Also, DTE Energy will provide a community match of up to $50,000 for all High Five donations. High Five supports programs that Gilda’s Club provides to cancer patients and their loved ones free of charge. Donors will also receive an exclusive LaughFest silipint glass or T-shirt and a High Five pin. They’ll also be entered to win free tickets to one of the festival’s shows.

Donating blood takes about an hour. Anyone age 17 or older in good health who meets eligibility requirements is encouraged to give. Parental consent is required for donors age 16 to give. Donors should bring a photo ID that includes their birth date.

Appointments are encouraged but walk-ins are welcome. To schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 1-866-MIBLOOD (642-5663) or visit donate.miblood.org.