Spirit of the Red Cross

American Red Cross Apheresis Blood Donors

apherisis

Sponsor: American Red Cross Connecticut Blood Services Region

When an accident victim, a new mother, a cancer patient or so many others need lifesaving blood, the Red Cross is there to provide it. And the Red Cross is able to do that only because of the volunteer donors who step forward to give the gift of life.

Some patients require platelets, red blood cells, or other specialized products. One way that the Red Cross can more effectively meet needs of blood recipients is to directly collect the specialized products. Apheresis is an automated blood collection procedure that allows the Red Cross to collect specific components - platelets, plasma or red blood cells - in the blood.

Platelet Apheresis products last only five days, so there is a constant need for new and repeat donors. The Red Cross is fortunate that Connecticut blood donors are willing to make the time commitment to donate through this special process.

A platelet donation requires a donor to be available up to four hours to complete the health history, actual donation, and to have a snack/hydration afterward. The actual donation time is approximately two hours. Apheresis donors may give 24 times per year, as opposed to six times for conventional whole blood donations. And Apheresis donors may give as frequently as once a week.

Apheresis donors clearly make a special commitment to giving. And the Red Cross Apheresis Center in Farmington makes every effort to make the process as comfortable and convenient as possible. Appointments are available seven days a week and the center is open most holidays throughout the year. Apheresis platelet donors are entertained during their procedure by a high-tech TV/sound system that provides them with current DVDs and satellite TV during the longer donation process. The system was donated to the Red Cross by Connecticut Apheresis donors.

“We value every blood donor who gives the gift of life,” says American Red Cross Connecticut Blood Services Region CEO Paul Sullivan. “The nearly 500 people who regularly step forward to make Apheresis donations deserve special recognition for their dedication, their willingness to participate in a lengthy process and their support of a steady supply of specialized blood products to help Connecticut patients in need.” Sullivan also recognized the “caring and highly skilled staff that make the donation process pleasant, safe and productive.”