Blood Assurance and the Chattanooga Lookouts have partnered in order to address the need for increased platelet donations locally by continuing the “Step Up to the Platelets” campaign. All platelet donors who give from Aug. 1-31 will receive two Chattanooga Lookouts baseball tickets for an August game.
“Platelet donations are needed by patients in the U.S. fighting cancer, chronic diseases, and traumatic injuries every 30 seconds,” said Jay Baumgardner, executive director of marketing and community relations at Blood Assurance.
“In fact, leukemia patients require more than 20 platelet transfusions on average over a six-month period. There is a high demand for platelets, and we want to make sure every patient receives their transfusions at their time of need.”
Platelets are microscopic cells that cause blood to clot and prevent continuous bleeding. Since the shelf life for collected platelets is five days, new donors are needed every day.
During a platelet donation, blood is taken from one arm and channeled through a sterile, disposable kit and placed in an apheresis machine. The machine separates the blood into different components, the platelets are removed from the blood and the remainder is returned to the circulation. The process takes between 45 - 90 minutes to complete, and more platelets are able to be collected through this process than with whole blood donation. Platelet donations can be repeated every seven days, up to 24 times per year.
“Hospitals are in constant need of platelets to support and strengthen patients as they battle serious illnesses, injuries, and major surgeries,” said Dr. Liz Culler, medical director at Blood Assurance. “We see patients day in and day out who are in desperate need of these donations. Platelets are a lifeline for so many, and your donation can save the life of someone in your community.”
All blood types are eligible to donate platelets, however, those with types A positive and B positive are highly encouraged to donate platelets. Blood types O negative and B negative can be best utilized for whole blood donation or double red cell donation, and AB types are best utilized for plasma donation.
All platelet donors will have the option to select the “Step Up to the Platelets” T-shirt or the “Donor Surf Co.” T-shirt; donors 18 years and older will be entered into a Blood Assurance monthly drawing for a $100 Ace Hardware gift card, compliments of August #BAChampion Ace Hardware; donors 18 years or older will also be entered into a drawing to win the “Pick Your Paradise” vacation getaway for a $1,500 travel voucher ending on Aug. 31.
To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 18 years old (16 and 17 years old with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids — avoiding caffeine — and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating.
If you are interested in becoming a platelet donor, contact your local donor center for more information and to schedule an appointment. Donor centers can be found by calling 800-962-0628 or visiting www.bloodassurance.org