It’s hard to imagine doing something 600 times. For Ed Rothrock, of Greensboro, North Carolina, it’s no small feat that he just completed his 600th platelet donation with the American Red Cross.
Since 1991, Rothrock has donated platelets nearly every two weeks. Even when he travels away from home, his commitment to help save lives remains steadfast. Rothrock has donated platelets in nine states, and he plans to make a donation on an upcoming trip to Georgia.
Rothrock is humble about reaching the milestone, but at a time when the Red Cross is experiencing an urgent need for blood and platelets, he understands the importance of not missing his next donation.
“It’s a habit, and I am glad to be able to donate,” Rothrock said. “I like helping people, and I don’t intend on missing one anytime soon.”
Right now, blood products are being distributed to hospitals as quickly as donations are coming in. To prevent a shortage and ensure an adequate blood supply for patients the rest of the summer, the Red Cross especially needs platelet donors and those with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood.
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.
Knowing who might be on the receiving end of a platelet transfusion keeps Rothrock committed and coming back. “It’s more for people who are really sick,” said Rothrock. “I know I’m doing something good.”
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.
For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org.