I moved to San Diego in late July. I found the local blood bank and donated whole blood here 8 weeks ago. I scheduled a new appointment for today, November 3 before I left the blood bank for the first time. (You have to wait 8 weeks before donating whole blood again). I got up this morning to go to the blood bank to donate blood. There are many reasons why people choose to donate or choose not to donate. I donate because someone, somewhere needs it. Blood is not a product that can be manufactured or substituted with something else. Every 3 seconds, someone needs a blood transfusion. Giving blood can help up to 3 people. That’s a powerful thought.
Today I was told I am eligible to donate platelets. The blood bank rescheduled my appointment for Wednesday the 6th to do the platelet donation.
Are you wondering what the difference is? Donating whole blood is the most common form of donations people make. You can donate whole blood at the blood banks or on the buses you see around town. Donating platelets requires some more specialized equipment. Your blood is drawn out of your arm, the platelets are filtered by machine and then your blood is returned to you. Platelets have a shelf life of 3-5 days, which means that platelets are always needed. A person can donate platelets every 2 weeks versus every 8 weeks for whole blood.
Who needs platelets? Platelets are used to stop bleeding and are a life-saving therapy for chemotherapy patients, leukemia, organ transplants, and people having open heart surgery. Some of these patients are children.
There is no monetary compensation for giving whole blood or platelets. You get the satisfaction of knowing you personally helped someone who needed you. I encourage everyone who is able and willing to donate. Do you believe in karma or “what goes around comes around”? You may need blood or platelets one day.