CHESTER COUNTY, PA — 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 platelets and about 13,000 blood donations every day for patients at about 2,500 hospitals nationwide. In the Penn Jersey Blood Services Region, 102 platelet and 600 blood donations are needed each day.
How to donate platelets
Platelet donation is available every Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 7:15 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the American Red Cross Blood Donation Center at 523 E. Gay St. in West Chester. 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).
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 by choosing from a catalog of movies to watch. 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 in Chester County:
American Red Cross Blood Donation Center – West Chester
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: 11:45 a.m.-7:45 p.m. (whole blood)
Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 7:15 a.m.-3 p.m. (whole blood and platelet pheresis)
3/24/2019: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Dunkin,’ 81 Baltimore Pike
4/2/2019: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., YMCA, 1416 Berwyn-Paoli Road
3/21/2019: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Cornerstone Fellowship Church, Family Life Center, 101 Kylies Road
4/9/2019: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., St. Luke Lutheran Church, 203 N. Valley Forge Road
3/23/2019: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., East Brandywine Baptist Church, 999 Horseshoe Pike
3/20/2019: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Chester County Economic Development, 737 Constitution Drive
3/21/2019: 7 a.m. – 5 p.m., Collegium Charter School, 535 James Hance Court
3/31/2019: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Clarion at Exton, 815 N. Pottstown Pike
4/10/2019: 2:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 104 S. Village Ave.
4/8/2019: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., East Whiteland Township Municipal Building, 209 Conestoga Road
3/27/2019: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., St. Patrick’s Church, 212 Meredith St.
4/4/2019: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Kennett Area Senior Center, 427 S. Walnut St.
4/9/2019: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., New Bolton Center, 328 W. Street Road
4/12/2019: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., Kennett Area YMCA, 101 Race St.
4/1/2019: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Centennial Lutheran Church, 1330 Hares Hill Road
3/22/2019: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Lincoln University, 1570 Baltimore Pike
4/4/2019: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Allstate Insurance Group, 1200 Atwater Road
4/10/2019: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Arbor Ridge, 72 E. Swedesford Road
3/29/2019: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Oxford United Methodist Church, 18 Addison St.
3/19/2019: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., River Crest Golf Club and Preserve, 100 Golf Club Drive
4/4/2019: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., University of Valley Forge, Capeci Hall, 40 Pine Crest St.
4/7/2019: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 109 E. Doe Run Road
3/19/2019: 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Chester County Hospital, 701 E. Marshall St.
4/2/2019: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Staints Simon and Jude Church, 8 Cavanaugh Court
4/3/2019: 1:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Mitch’s Market Street Gym, 322 W. Market St.
Maximizing your donation experience
A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, from a computer or mobile device. To get started and learn more, visit RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
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