During Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, the American Red Cross is urging people to donate blood or platelets to provide hope and healing to patients fighting cancer.

Donors of all types, especially platelet donors or those with type O blood, are needed to ensure a stable supply for cancer patients.

Appointments can be made by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor app, visiting www.redcrossblog.org or by calling 1-800-733-2767.

Everyone donating during the month of October will be automatically be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of five $500 gift cards.

Several blood drives will be held in the area, including:

  • Friday, Oct. 18, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Viking Plaza Mall, Alexandria.

  • Monday, Oct. 21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Alexandria Senior Center, 414 Hawthorne St.; noon to 6 p.m. at Calvary Lutheran Church, 605 Douglas St.., Alexandria; and 1 to 7 p.m. at Faith Lutheran Church, 526 State St., Evansville.

  • Tuesday, Oct. 22, from noon to 6 p.m. at Calvary Lutheran Church; and noon to 6 p.m. at St. William’s Living Center, 212 W. Soo St., Parkers Prairie.

  • Friday, Oct. 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cornerstone Church, 202 7th Ave. E., Alexandria.

  • Monday, Oct. 28, from noon to 6 p.m. at the VFW Post 7902, 701 8th Ave., Osakis.

For more information, go to www.redcross.org.