Platelet Donations: Helping Save Lives for People “Like Mommy”
Every day, the American Red Cross depends on generous blood and platelet donors who roll up a sleeve to help save lives. Jeff Hull of Conway, Arkansas, has been one of these donors for more than 10 years. When Jeff’s wife, Jeniffer, was diagnosed with cancer in December 2015, the significance of these donations really hit home.
“Before this, when I would donate I didn't have a personal connection or conviction to give these gifts,” said Jeff. “I just did it because I thought it was the noble thing to do. Before cancer touched my family I couldn't identify the distinction between donating whole blood and platelets other than the time difference in the donation process.”
THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF PLATELETS Platelets must be transfused within five days of donation and therefore are constantly in demand. A key clotting component of blood, platelets are often needed by those who are extremely ill such as cancer patients, burn victims and bone marrow recipients.
“Everyone knows someone that's been affected by cancer,” said Jeff. “For me, the donation of platelets correlates keenly with cancer treatments. My wife's cancer treatments routinely leave her body stripped of vital white blood cells, hemoglobin, and platelets.”
Jeniffer has received eight blood and platelet transfusions. She continues her fight against cancer with the loving support of Jeff and their three children. Jeff shared, “I'm proud to say when they ask me why I donate platelets that I'm helping to save lives for people ‘like mommy.’"
“I know I'll never be able to thank the anonymous donors that have helped keep my wife in my life, but the least I can do is allow someone else the same opportunities that have been blessed upon me.”
SCHEDULE A PLATELET DONATION To schedule an appointment to donate, the Red Cross encourages eligible individuals to use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Unlike whole blood, which can be safely donated every 56 days, platelets can be donated every seven days, up to 24 times a year. It’s important that eligible platelet donors give as often as possible to help ensure this potentially lifesaving blood product is available for patients whenever and wherever needed.
Learn more about platelet donation.
Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in most states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood or platelets. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
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