Give platelets or blood to help patients battling cancer
People may be surprised that they can play a direct role in the fight against cancer, and it’s easier than they might think. By donating platelets or blood through the American Red Cross, donors can share their strength and help patients kick cancer.
Platelets are tiny cells that form clots and stop bleeding. About 2 million units of platelets are transfused each year in the U.S., and more than half of all donated platelets go to cancer patients.
“Some cancers and certain types of chemotherapy drugs and radiation can damage bone marrow, where red blood cells and platelets are produced,” said Dr. Pampee P. Young, chief medical officer, American Red Cross. “Cancer patients often require blood products during treatment or after surgical procedures. Platelet transfusions, in particular, are needed to prevent life-threatening bleeding and help cancer patients continue receiving lifesaving treatments.”
Because platelets must be transfused within just five days from the time they are donated, platelet donors have the power to help save up to three lives within days of their donation.
In addition to cancer patients, platelets and blood are needed every day for lifesaving surgeries, traumas and those living with blood disorders. The Red Cross must collect more than 2,500 platelet and about 13,000 blood donations every day for patients at about 2,500 hospitals nationwide. In the Southern California Blood Services Region, 200 platelet and 683 blood donations are needed each day.
How to donate platelets
Platelet donation is available at the following Red Cross blood donation centers. Appointments are encouraged and can be made using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org/Cancer or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Local Platelet Donation Centers:
-Long Beach Blood Donation Center (3150 E. 29th St.).
-Pasadena Blood Donation Center (133 N. Altadena Drive, Suite 103).
-Pomona Blood Donation Center (100 Red Cross Circle).
-Torrance Blood Donation Center (2814 Sepulveda Blvd.).
-Wooland Hills Blood Donation Center (6338 Variel Ave.).
About platelet donation
During a platelet donation, blood is collected by a device that separates platelets, along with some plasma, from whole blood, and the remaining blood components are returned to the donor. The entire process takes about two to three hours, and donors are encouraged to relax during the donation – videos, television and wireless internet are available. Platelets may be donated every seven days, up to 24 times a year.
How to donate blood
Blood donations can be made at the following upcoming blood drives. Eligible donors of all blood types, especially type O, are urged to make an appointment to give now. Simply download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make a blood donation appointment.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities:
The Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration at 1881 S. First Ave.
- April 1: 2-7 p.m.
- April 15: 2-7 p.m.