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Stepping Up to the Plate(let)

February 7, 2011 at 11:12 am
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When long-time apheresis donor Dawn Chuck was unable to continue giving platelets, she made it a personal goal to recruit as many platelet donors as it would take to make up for losing her… and then some! Dawn (above, second from left) also belongs to family of three generations of blood donors, featured in this video. Thanks, Dawn, for being our guest author this week.

After becoming involved with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program many years ago, I decided it was time to start donating blood.

After my first donation, I found out I was eligible to donate platelets (in order to donate platelets, one has to be medically eligible and also have a little more time for the procedure) and that this blood component is critical to cancer and bone marrow transplant patients. I was a regular platelet donor, coming in every two weeks, for many years. This past year my body decided it didn’t want to let go of my platelets, so I transitioned back to donating whole blood and do so every eight weeks.

Since I can no longer provide platelets, I decided I would try to recruit as many people as I could to replace myself. I’ve recruited about seven people so far. In addition, being an avid bicyclist, I recently coordinated a blood drive, “Bikers Out for Blood“, that targeted the cycling community. The drive proved to be successful as we had 104 donors come through the door for that day!

We all just take for granted that if we or a loved one ever need blood due to illness, accident, etc., that it will always be there. That isn’t the case. Blood isn’t just sitting in the fridge forever. It has a shelf life and needs to be replenished constantly. The main purpose of my blood drive was to get people to donate either as first-timers or repeat donors and to learn more about how to become a platelet donor. And, on top of that, I’d like platelet and whole blood donors to become “regulars”–not just once every now and again. Giving blood is necessary and is a very rewarding way to give back to the community! PLEASE GIVE AND GIVE OFTEN!

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