Nationwide blood shortage affecting Houston-area cancer patients

"I am getting a second chemo right now," said Bev Saltzman Lewyn. "It's making me a little sleepy, but otherwise all is well."

Lewyn is on a mission and being an inpatient at MD Anderson hospital is not going to stop her.

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"This is my third Rodeo with cancer," she said.

Now, Lewyn is battling acute leukemia.

"I would say it makes the breast cancer chemo look very easy," she said. "It wasn't easy, but the difference is pretty dramatic."

"Worst time of our lives," said Lewyn's mother Resanne Saltzman. "Never felt old before. I think I aged 20 years in 20 days."

"In Bev's case, it was exceptionally difficult, because her blood type is O negative. That's not easy to get," said Lewyn's father Earl Saltzman.

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Lewyn wants to remind people when they give blood, it helps save the lives of cancer patients.

"The doctors have to use blood transfusions to essentially bring your immune system back up, so you can live and thrive," she said.

The blood supply at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is above critical levels. But there's ongoing need for blood and platelet donations due to the national blood shortage.

"People with cancer, blood cancers, if they don't get the blood when they need it, they will die," said Resanne Saltzman.

"It's just amazing. She just keeps going and going, and after three cancers to be able to do that is very special," said Lewyn's husband Marc Lewyn.

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"MD Anderson has more blood cancer patients than any other hospital in the country," Lewyn said. "This is really ground zero for that."

"Giving blood helps people feel like they're contributing, feel like they're helping Bev, and they're really helping the world, so it's a fantastic oppurtunity," Marc Lewyn said.

If you want to donate to MD Anderson's Blood Bank or more information, click here.