National Donor Day is recognized on February 14th and focuses on five points of life: organs, tissues, marrow, platelets, and blood. Patrick Gardner, Senior Project Architect of WORTHGROUP has been a platelet donor for the last few years and has been so happy with his decision that he wanted to share more information regarding the process, downtime and most importantly, the WHY.

As we all are aware organizations, such as the American Red Cross, constantly urge us to donate blood following various emergency situations. Many of us have participated in blood drives or regularly visit the local blood banks to play a part. Often there is a request to go a step further and consider the donation of plasma or platelets.

Platelets are the elements within the whole blood that greatly assist in the clotting process. Various diseases (Leukemia), injuries and major surgeries require the replacement of the platelets. Leukemia depletes the platelet counts, making these patients particularly dependent upon platelet donations.

The donated platelets have a variety of uses. Beyond the obvious use in transfusion, the platelets are utilized in many research projects. The platelets have a very limited life span, so the bank is always in need of resupply. In addition to the platelets, blood plasma is extracted in the process.

The process for platelet extraction is much more involved than regular blood donations. It involves removing whole blood from one arm, passing through a machine which removes the platelets, reintroducing blood back in another arm and repeating this process until the desired amount of platelet is achieved.

Whereas a regular donation process is over within 30 minutes or so, platelet processing takes 90 minutes (which could differ depending on the person). Nothing special is needed to prepare for the donation and there are no affects afterward, as all the blood has been recovered. Platelets are fully restored in the blood system within a matter of days.

“My involvement in this has been very rewarding to me, on a personal level. I encourage anyone who has an interest to contact their local blood bank or the Red Cross to consider a role in this important work. To date I have had no adverse reactions to my donations, besides a bit of itching to the area of the needles.” -Patrick Gardner, Senior Project Architect, WORTHGROUP Architects & Designers.

For more information on blood platelet donation, please visit the Red Cross website.