WICHITA, Kan. (Oct. 13, 2016)— The American Red Cross is reporting that it is experiencing an emergency need for eligible donors in the Wichita area to make an appointment now to give platelets to ensure critical patient needs are met.
Platelets are the clotting portion of blood primarily given to cancer patients during treatment. They must be transfused within five days of donation which means they are always in great demand, according to the Red Cross.
“Cancer patients rely on platelet donations. Chemotherapy drugs and radiation used to treat cancer can affect the bone marrow where platelets are produced, and platelet transfusions help to prevent life-threatening bleeding,” said Laura Potter of the Central Plains Blood Services Region. “We refer to our generous platelet donors as ‘Cancer Kickers’ because they help patients kick cancer. Trauma patients, those undergoing organ transplants and premature babies also regularly need platelets.”
Seasonal colds and flu are currently preventing many regular donors from giving, and the devastating impact of Hurricane Matthew has disrupted donations in many locations in the Southeast. More than 95 blood drives have been forced to cancel resulting in 3,000 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
Potential donors can download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App (Apple iPhone / iPad | Android), visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) for more 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 and television are available. Platelets may be donated every seven days, up to 24 times a year. Learn more about platelet donations.
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.
Local Platelet Donations Center:
American Red Cross Wichita Blood Donation Center, 707 N. Main
Friday-Monday: 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Tuesday & Wednesday: 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.