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Donating Platelets: A Donor's Story

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

By Diane Weber


I settled into my recliner and searched for my series on Netflix as I watched my attending nurse, Serena, prepare the tubes next to me. I found my show and lay back to watch a couple of episodes of Juvenile Justice. Serena offered me a blanket and kept a watchful eye on me as a lay there, tubes running from my right arm and through a machine and back into my left.

About every other month, I go into a Red Cross office to donate blood, although I’m not donating blood per se – only platelets.

My blood is collected by a device that separates platelets, along with some plasma, from whole blood and returns the remaining blood components back to me.

Platelets play a critical role in the treatment of millions of Americans fighting cancer and other chronic diseases, as well as those recovering from traumatic injuries. Since platelets must be used within five days of donation, platelet donors are constantly needed.

My type A-positive blood is one of the ideal blood types for a platelet donation. The ideal types are A positive, A negative, B positive, O positive, AB positive and AB negative.

After I finished a couple of episodes of my show, my platelet donation was also finished. Serena made sure I felt well, offered me cookies and juice – and a donor T–shirt – and sent me on my way.

It takes about three hours for the whole platelet donation process – much longer than the short, whole blood donation, but the need for platelets is great. So, about every other month, I shift around my schedule and make the time.

I have family members who have needed blood during surgery or in the emergency room, and I have been thankful that others had taken the time to make sure this was available.

I am happy now that I can do my part to help someone else with this critical need.

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