Monday, March 17, 2014

Platelet Donation

I also learned today about the importance of platelet donation! Many cancer patients, organ/marrow transplant patients, trauma victims and open heart surgery patients need platelet transfusions to survive. 

Platelet donation is done by apheresis, which is a process that collects your blood from one arm, sends it through a machine that separates the platelets out, then returns the remaining blood components back to you through your other arm. A major advantage to platelet donation is that in one donation, you can provide enough platelets for one transfusion, unlike the with whole (regular) blood donation. With whole blood, it can take as many as 6 people's whole blood donations to collectively make up one platelet transfusion, since the blood must be separated and pooled together to provide enough platelets. Platelets from a single donor is generally preferred, since it reduces the recipient's exposure to multiple donors. As we have seen with Ava, reducing her exposure to multiple donors' platelets can play an important role in minimizing her reaction to the transfusions.

I don't think you can donate platelets for a specific patient, but I understand that blood type is not a factor at all when donating platelets, so your platelets are useful for any patient! And... since platelets have a shelf-life of about 5 days, there is ALWAYS a need for platelet donors. Unlike with the marrow registry, you can donate platelets if you are 17 years of age, or possibly 16 years with signed parental consent. Note that donating platelets takes longer than donating blood; it may take 1-2 hours, but think of the life-giving results! If you are in the Chicagoland area, check out the LifeSource page to see donation locations near you. Click on a specific location to see if platelets are collected at that site.

Consider donating platelets - a very tangible way to impact the lives of many cancer patients like Ava!

1 comment:

shelia said...

I can't even fathom what you are going through. I've just connected to your blog bc I follow Jeremy Lin on fb and have just scanned through the last 2 years of your life. Thank you for being so faithful and obedient to God throughout this whole heartbreaking process. You've been so open and vulnerable and as a result, such a huge witness to me. God bless little Ava with peace and love and joy. Love to you all.