Blood Assurance is issuing a critical plea to the public about donating platelets.
As of Thursday morning, the nonprofit organization had only 15 platelet units available. Blood Assurance needs 75-100 platelet units on its shelves every day to supply more than 70 hospitals around the region.
“Platelets are unique because of their short shelf life. We need these collections regularly,” said Dr. Liz Culler, chief medical officer for Blood Assurance.
Platelets are an irregular, disc-shaped element in the blood that assists in blood clotting. People with certain blood disorders may not be able to produce healthy platelets on their own. Platelets are needed by patients who experience trauma, bleeding during surgery, patients with aplastic anemia, transplant recipients, patients with leukemia and patients receiving treatment for cancer.
“The need is critical,” said Culler. “Our family members, friends and neighbors battling cancer and other debilitating illnesses may very well require platelet transfusions as part of their treatment. The time to act is now.”
To encourage more people to donate, through Saturday, Blood Assurance is awarding each donor a commemorative beach towel and a chance to win a kayak or paddleboard, and a $100 Bass Pro Shops gift card.
Platelet donors can give every seven days and up to 24 times a year. The process usually takes between 60-90 minutes.
To be eligible to donate, you must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids and eat a hearty meal prior to donating.
Donors can visit www.bloodassurance.org/schedule, call 800-962-0628, or text BAGIVE to 999777, to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are also accepted.