Volunteer opportunities and giving moments come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some require a great deal of research, paperwork, and commitment. Others offer quick and easy ways to serve without much hassle. Regardless of the project size and red tape, all opportunities give those who volunteer the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.
This week I donated platelets, a process called Pheresis, at the American Red Cross. This is not the first time I have done this and if you have been following our journey for the last two years you have read about it before. I write one post a year about donating platelets in the hope that others may consider doing the same. Platelets are in constant need, much like blood. Platelets are cells in the blood that help form clots and control one’s bleeding. They are used to help people who are undergoing treatment for serious health problems like cancer and leukemia. Those suffering with these diseases cannot produce enough platelets on their own which leads to thinning blood. The donated platelets allow these patients to get the treatment and procedures that they need.
I have donated platelets many times over the years so it has become part of my routine. The entire process took about two hours. I watched Sportscenter, enjoyed a few pieces of candy, and engaged in conversation with the staff. Once again, the service was great. The staff always works to ensure that I am comfortable and that the process is an enjoyable as possible. After my donation was complete, I sat down with a to refuel with a donut in the cantina. It was then that I had the opportunity to talk with a volunteer who was helping with the food. He thanked me four or five times in our ten minute conversation for coming in and giving on that day. I could see the true appreciation in his eyes. He had been a beneficiary of donated platelets in the past. He shared a bit of his story which reinforced my commitment to donating. I saw firsthand, again, the front line impact. I am truly impacting, and possibly saving lives, by investing two hours. That feels amazing.
Donating platelets is quick, easy, and it can be done often. Individuals are able to donate platelets up to 24 times in a 12 month period or about every two weeks. The body begins replenishing the donated platelets immediately which makes more donations possible. A person can donate 4 hours a month to giving to others and possibly save lives in the process. The demand for platelets is extremely high right now. This demand continues to increase and will continue because a unit of platelets expires after five days. Just another reason that more people need to research this process to learn if they are able to make a donation. Please visit the American Red Cross website for more information or contact the Red Cross location nearest you. Take time to make a donation. The need is constant, the gratification is instant!