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Platelet Donors Vital to Patient Care

October 27, 2011
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10/28/11 “You’re golden.”  That’s what platelet donors hear most every time they come to help save a life through the American Red Cross. And that’s because these tiny gold-colored cells in blood are constantly needed by hospital patients with life-threatening illness or injury.

“Platelet donors are highly valued by medical professionals and by hospital patients and their families,” said Sharyn Whitman, CEO for the Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross.  “These donors play a vital role in ensuring an adequate supply of a very fragile resource is available when it’s most needed—which is literally every day.”

Platelets are the clotting components in blood that control bleeding. Patients with serious health conditions like leukemia, cancer and aplastic anemia can’t produce enough platelets of their own and often need platelets to survive or to improve their quality of life. Platelets are also essential for many surgeries, trauma care and during the course of chemotherapy.

Platelets for patient care come from volunteer donors who make and keep appointments through special Red Cross collection sites. Platelet donations can take from 90 minutes to two hours and involve the use of a cell-separating machine that removes platelets and a small amount of plasma from whole blood, then returns remaining blood components to the donor. Donated platelets only last for five days, and are always in high demand. Donors can give platelets up to 24 times in a 12-month period. Donors can also give blood after waiting a certain number of days between donations and meeting eligibility requirements.

“When you give platelets, chances are someone very sick needs your donation almost immediately,” said Whitman. “And since you may be eligible to give platelets more often than you think, you could help save lives throughout the year by simply rolling up your sleeves.”

For information on donating platelets, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-589-8127.

UPCOMING AMERICAN RED CROSS BLOOD DRIVES IN YOUR AREA:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 9, from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. at Argos Elementary School in the gymnasium, located at 600 Yearick Ave. in Argos.  This blood drive is sponsored by Pint Size Heroes of Argos Elementary School. 
  • Thursday, Nov. 10, from 11:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus in the Hall, located at 901 E. Jefferson St. in Plymouth.
  • Sunday, Nov. 13, from noon until 4:30 p.m. at Culver Academies in Fleet Gymnasium, located at 1300 Academy Road in Culver

About donating and eligibility

To schedule an appointment to donate please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org for more information. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in Indiana and Ohio), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate. Platelet donors should also be aspirin-free for 48 hours.

About the American Red Cross

The Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region serves northern and central Indiana and northwestern Ohio, and needs to collect about 500 units of blood a day to meet patient need in more than 60 hospitals.  In addition to providing blood to our community, the American Red Cross also provides relief to victims of disaster, trains millions in lifesaving skills, serves as a communication link between U.S. military members and their families, and assists victims of international disasters or conflicts.  09/11APAP0700

The need is constant. The gratification is instant. Give blood.

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