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Platelets are a special blood component that aids in the clotting process. They act like bandages for the body and help prevent and stop bleeding.
Platelet donations benefit people with leukemia and other types of cancer, accident victims and transplant recipients. These patients are often at serious risk because their blood does not clot properly. A platelet transfusion can reduce the risk of serious bleeding.
Unlike whole blood, platelets have a short shelf life. They must be used within seven days of a donation. Due to this short shelf life, platelet donations are always needed.
Platelets are obtained from a donor by a process known as apheresis, or plateletpheresis. In this process, blood is drawn from the donor into an apheresis machine which separates the blood into its component parts, retains some of the platelets, and returns the remainder of the blood to the donor. Apheresis is the medical term for this procedure and simply means "take away."
One platelet donation can provide as many platelets as 12 to 18 whole blood donations. This helps prevent patients with cancer and a weakened immune system from being exposed to several different donors. Plateletpheresis takes longer than a traditional whole blood donation, anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on the donor.
The Gold Label Platelet Program is Kentucky Blood Center’s way of thanking platelet donors and encouraging them to give often. The rewards program was recently revamped to provide additional value for loyal KBC donors. Rewards include tiered gift cards, and any platelet donor who donates 12 or more times in the calendar year will receive a KBC zip-up fleece jacket at the end of the year.
Find out more about the Gold Label Platelet Program by clicking here.
Donors may give platelets up to 24 times a year – about every 15 days.
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