Former CNN researcher fights cancer and raises awareness about blood shortages

Former CNN National Desk researcher Bev Saltzman Lewyn is sounding the alarm about the critical blood shortage across the country. 

Lewyn herself is currently at MD Anderson in Houston getting treatment for leukemia.

According to information being distributed by one of her friends and colleagues:

“Most people think blood donations help trauma victims, sickle cell and surgery patients, but I was not aware that blood shortages mean cancer patients can’t get their treatment. This is a major issue at MD Anderson right now, as well as at hospitals around the country. According to the Red Cross, cancer patients use more blood than those fighting any other disease. Family and friends have donated enough blood for Bev’s first round of 24-hour, month-long in-patient chemo. Her hope is that her efforts to bring attention to the shortage will spur an infusion of donations so robust that we’ll have extra blood to share with Ukraine.”

The following is Lewyn’s Facebook post on the topic. You can watch a story about her mission by the Fox News affiliate in Houston, Texas.

Facebook post by Bev Saltzman Lewyn:

Beautiful friends-

Brace yourself as this post likely contains some surprising news. I never would prefer to make broad personal announcements, on FB no less, but a quick blast is all I can do right now. So pls keep reading for the why.


Especially if you are in Houston. MD Anderson Cancer Blood Bank has a critical blood shortage and sick cancer patients in need of blood transfusions for treatment cannot get them. 

Now the shocker- If you are in Houston and want to donate directly to ME, you can specify this. And what I don’t need will go to other wonderful families. Appointment only- call MD Anderson Blood Bank call 713-792-7788. If you are in another city there may be a way to help me directly, but I am not sure. And pls give blood anyway because the nationwide shortage is terrible. Patients everywhere need the chance to live. 

I am SO deeply sorry if this is the way you are hearing about me. This will be a surprise to almost all of you. It all happened fast and the treatment is intense so I haven’t been able to share or respond much outside my immediate family. If you reach out- just know it may be a long bit before I can even see you did, and then perhaps a lot longer to respond. But I do feel the love very much. 

Marc and Rachel are here in Houston with me (though only Marc is allowed to visit because of Covid rules.). They and the doggies are staying with my beloved parents, and Marc even gets to sleep in my childhood bedroom without me for a month! Now how many hubbies get that chance of a lifetime ??

Marc has been- well, no words. So upbeat, attentive to me, our kids, my parents, and working from Houston at the same time. Please G-d we will celebrate our 30th wedding anny on March 22. I am just so happy he is mine.

So grateful my incredible parents still live here. You know they are just the best. They aren’t allowed to visit me which is hard on all of us. Rachee (who road-tripped the dogs and my car! She is amazing!) and my hilarious in-town brother Frank can’t either. Baby brother David is in the same boat. You get the drift…. 

Alexandra, Sarah, and Rebecca are hanging in there- hard for them to be so far away, but I want them to keep moving forward in school and work and life. Rachee can luckily work from anywhere so she is working from Houston.

I am in great spirits and SO GRATEFUL to have my leukemia doctor Hagop Kantarjian and his MD Anderson team. He is from all accounts the very best doctor in the world for my case. And this is the best team and hospital for it, too. 

They are keeping me inpatient in the hospital for chemo for the first month (have already been here 2 weeks) and then for about a week every month after that, depending on side effects. More chemo and incredible immunotherapy to go on both inpatient and outpatient basis. I have to be in Houston for the first 6-8 months. Then back here on and off for the 2 years. 

My rockstar doc tells me he is going to cure me, and I believe him! So we just have to get through this strange phase. It is all going to be great in the end.

Now please go make your appointment to GIVE BLOOD NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE to save lives. And tell your friends and family- let’s go do something great to help the world. 

We can do hard things. And we ALL have to at times. It is going to be good. Sending hugs as always. Xoxo

Ps for those wanting my Hebrew name for prayers it is a doozy! Bayla Ora bat Reesa Rightza Anya Malka.

Pps you do not need to have my blood type! 

Ppps If you are in Houston and can donate at MD Anderson you would give them my name and the number 2645731. Donating anywhere else you would have to ask whether it can be “credited” to my medical treatment but please give even if it can’t. Here is hoping we will help so many critically ill patients.

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