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With a platelet donation you can have a powerful and immediate impact on a cancer patient’s life! Your platelet donation is transfused to a patient usually within three days and could help keep them alive. Platelets are most often used to help cancer patients, but also help patients with blood disorders or undergoing open-heart surgery and organ transplants. Because platelets must be transfused within five days, platelet donors are constantly needed to keep the supply stable.
Schedule your platelet donation online by selecting ‘platelet’ in our online scheduler or by calling us at 877-25-VITAL.
Platelets are our most delicate blood component, but they perform a vital job. They are tiny cells that help your blood clot when you are bleeding and constantly fix tears in your circulatory system. When platelets are low, serious or life-threatening bleeding can occur.
Every 15 seconds someone in the US needs platelets.
More than 50% of all platelet donations go to help cancer patients.
Because platelets are so perishable, they can only be stored at room temperature, and for only up to five days.
Donating platelets is slightly different than a traditional whole blood donation. The process is called apheresis donation, an automated procedure in which whole blood goes into a machine that isolates and takes just the platelets, then returns the other blood components—plasma, red cells and white cells—back to the donor. This procedure enables us to collect a higher-concentration of platelets (2-4 times more concentrated) compared to platelets collected during a whole blood donation. Actual donation time is about 2 hours. Throughout the donation process, a Vitalant donor specialist is there to assist you. You can use the internet, watch TV, or simply relax knowing that you are doing something incredible to help a seriously ill patient.
In addition to the same eligibility requirements necessary for whole blood donations, apheresis donors need to have an adequate platelet count. Please note: Donors who were previously pregnant are tested for HLA antibodies as the presence of these antibodies could put a patient at risk for Transfusion Related Acute Lung Injury (TRALI). As long as no HLA antibodies are present, we happily welcome previously pregnant donors!
The ideal blood types for platelet donation are O+, A+, B+, AB+. Depending on the concentration of platelets in your blood, you even may be able to give a double or triple platelet donation during a single session. A double or triple donation is safer for a seriously ill patient who needs multiple units.
You'll enjoy knowing you are helping a seriously ill patient feel stronger immediately after they receive your donation within the week. A smaller needle is used and you may find you feel less fatigue after apheresis since the the rest of your blood is returned to you along with saline that aids hydration and lessens fatigue.
Platelet donors can give every 7 days up to 24 times annually.
Platelet donations are accepted at all Vitalant donor centers.
Please increase your intake of fluids, calcium, and iron starting two days before your appointment. You also must stop taking aspirin two days prior to donating platelets as aspirin reduces the potency of platelets.
Schedule your platelet donation by selecting 'platelet' in our online scheduler or by calling us at 877-25-VITAL.
"Every time I donate, I feel energized.... I’m happy this is something I can do to help cancer patients. Everyone knows someone who’s had cancer. This is your way to honor them, by helping other cancer patients who are fighting for their lives."
— Sunnie, Platelet Donor
Then, use any donate button to schedule an appointment.