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Red Cross Platelet Donor Reaches Milestone Donation

Red Cross platelet donor Keith Gentrup.

Every day, thousands of people roll up a sleeve to help patients in need through the American Red Cross. Many of these blood donors make it a regular practice, but few can say they are as committed to the cause as Keith Gentrup of Omaha, Nebraska.

Keith recently visited the Red Cross Blood Donation Center in midtown Omaha, just as he’s done every other Friday for many years. But this recent appointment was anything but ordinary – Keith reached his 1,000th unit of platelets donated.

Keith says he thinks about those who are sick and the lives he could potentially help save with his donations. “I’m in pretty good health,” said Keith. “Why not pass it on?”

Keith started donating blood in January 1988 and donated more than three and half gallons of whole blood before he decided to give platelet donations a try. As an overnight television news photographer, Keith says the two-hour platelet donation gives him a chance to kick up his feet and relax at the end of the week.

“The way I make my living, this is a good way to give back,” said Keith. “I’m covering all these accidents and all these tragedies. It feels like a way I can help these victims.”

ABOUT PLATELETS Platelets are a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, burn victims and bone marrow recipients. 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 For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate blood or platelets, 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.

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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