The American Red Cross has an emergency need for eligible donors to give platelets to ensure critical patient needs are met. Platelets, the clotting portion of blood primarily given to cancer patients during treatment, must be transfused within five days of donation and, therefore, are always in great demand.
Seasonal colds and flu are preventing many regular donors from giving, and the impact of Hurricane Matthew has disrupted donations in many locations in the Southeast. More than 100 blood drives have been forced to cancel, resulting in 3,500 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Healthy donors are needed now to meet the needs of patients at local hospitals as well as in areas affected by the hurricane. While there is an emergency need for platelets, donors can also help by giving blood as there is an urgent need for all blood types.
How to donate platelets or blood
Download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call (800) 733-2767) for information and to make an appointment.
During a platelet donation, blood is collected by a device that separates platelets from whole blood and returns the remaining blood components back to the donor along with a saline solution. The entire process takes about two to three hours, and donors are encouraged to relax during the donation. Videos, television and wireless Internet are available in some locations. Platelets may be donated every seven days, up to 24 times a year.
Donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving for their donation. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.