Throughout Red Cross Month during March, the American Red Cross honors everyday heroes who make a difference day in and day out helping to save lives. Each day, hospital patients count on the generosity of volunteer blood and platelet donors to provide them hope and another day to spend with family and friends.
DEDICATED TO DONATION Andrew (Drew) Wight, of Plano, Texas, is a regular blood donor. Inspired by his father who donated frequently during Drew’s childhood, Drew started rolling up his sleeve when he was 18 years old. Sixteen years later, Drew still takes time out to help others through blood donation.
“Though I will never know the people I am helping, I recognize that emergencies happen all the time - and I like to think that I played a small part in being there for somebody in a crisis or chronic situation,” said Drew.
GOING THE EXTRA MILE Drew recently learned about the importance of platelet donation and wanted to give it a try. Platelets are a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, burn victims and bone marrow recipients. Since Drew could not donate platelets at his local Red Cross, he decided to go the extra mile – more than 300 miles, that is. Drew was able to arrange an appointment to donate platelets during a recent business trip to Little Rock, Arkansas.
“I think that the message is to love others,” said Drew. “I give to indirectly love others, and I may need someone else's indirect love one day. It is a small sacrifice to make to help someone.”
Drew says he will continue to donate blood, and he plans to donate platelets again during future trips to Little Rock.
Unlike whole blood, which can be safely donated every 56 days, platelets can be donated every seven days, up to 24 times a year. Platelets must be transfused within five days of donation. 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.
HOW TO DONATE 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. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org. Donors can also use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, which is free and available for download now. It can be found in app stores by searching for American Red Cross, visiting redcross.org/apps or redcrossblood.org/bloodapp, or by texting BLOODAPP to 90999 for a direct link to download. Message and data rates for texting may apply.