Red Cross Blood Centre Platelet Donation
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Red Cross Blood Centre Platelet Donation

Have you ever thought about doing something for the greater community? Have you ever considered donating blood?

I first gave blood back when I was only 19. I didn’t initially do it out of generosity but because I was able to do it during work time and they gave us a free lunch of as much as we could eat. As a 19 year old with a ravenous appetite I made sure I filled up.

After a short while of doing a couple of donations I realised that I was actually doing something good for the community so I’ve continued now for 30 years. I wouldn’t say I’m a regular, my lifestyle doesn’t enable me to make that sort of commitment but when I have the time I often pop into the local blood service where I might be living and give.

Whole blood can only be donated every 3 months to enable time for the body to regenerate so if I had been regular I could have only made a maximum of 120 donations to date. As it is I’ve just clocked up 45 donations so you can see how irregular I am. But hey it’s 45 donations and every bit helps.

All these years I’ve been donating whole blood but my last visit 6 weeks ago I gave plasma for the first time and today I donated plasma and platelets for the first time.

The procedure takes quite a bit longer, for me about an hour hooked up to the machine whereas for whole blood I can normally fill a bag in under 10 minutes. However plasma and platelets can be donated every 3 weeks and are very highly valued as it requires more of a commitment and the platelets have a shelf life of only 5 days.

Here is a little video of me being jabbed and hooked up to the machine to give you a bit of an idea. Thanks Shelly

If you want to do something for the community that costs you nothing but your time consider donating. There are blood services all over the place, it’s a pleasant way to chill for a while and they give you something to drink and eat. Maybe you’ll even get an ice cream like I received today. 🙂

Go on you’ll feel good for doing it.

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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • paulaNo Gravatar Wednesday, 1 April, 2009, 5:17 pm

    Well done – would do it if I could!

    In the UK I was a marrow donor and came very close once to giving my marrow.

    Father in law is now counting on platelets to make him better so a big thank you from us xxx

  • Stuart McMillenNo Gravatar Wednesday, 1 April, 2009, 6:53 pm

    Thanks for doing it Ian – I don’t think many people bring video cameras into the donor centre…let alone film the needle going in! This is actually a perfect insight into what it is like sitting in the plasma/platelet chair. The fact that you are so comfortable during the process, talking to Shelly, is a great example to others that might be interested in donating in this way.

    I always feel fantastic after donating plasma – a nice euphoric feeling probably relating to the drop in blood volume. Whole blood takes less than 10% of total blood volume, but plasma takes 16% of your TBV from you, although almost all of the red cells are returned back to your body, so iron loss is not as big an issue.

    I think I’m up to 41 donations, so you’d better keep up the habit, or else I’ll overtake you!

  • KathNo Gravatar Wednesday, 1 April, 2009, 8:05 pm

    I used to give blood regularly. Then I was anaemic for a long time and couldn’t. Now I have tattoos that are only 8 months old and they won’t take it. But I will go back when I can.

  • IanNo Gravatar Wednesday, 1 April, 2009, 9:37 pm

    Paula, best wishes to your father in law and it heartening to thinking I may be helping a little.
    Stuart, It’s always a pleasure to donate and today was fun to do the video.
    As for tattoos Kath it’s one of the minor reasons I’ve never got one in that it would count me out of donating for a year.

  • Adam Daniel MezeiNo Gravatar Monday, 11 May, 2009, 3:37 am

    IK, I just wanted to ask when does the woozy part kick in? Way after…or…? I’d also wanted to ask you about potential dangers in doing this — who *shouldn’t* be having their 16% TBV removed? Perhaps it’s something you can respond to shortly? If it’s too long an answer or a link, please excuse my question.

    Also, a site suggestion: you might want to add a “track comments” check box as the bottom of the comment field for people who want to follow the comment streams in the event they neglect/forget to return to YSP.com. Similar to what you might find at: http://www.everything-everywhere.com. @Gary Ardnt’s site.

    From P-Town,
    ADM

    • IanNo Gravatar Monday, 11 May, 2009, 5:39 pm

      When some donate whole blood there can be some woozy issues as the oxygen caring ability is reduced minimally. However the great thing for me is that I don’t have any donation issues ever.

      When donating platelets and plasma these issues are reduced as the red blood cells are returned and the body replaces the quantities removed within a few hours, where as red blood cells take several days to replace.

      For these reasons whole blood is donated every three months and the others can be donated every three weeks.

  • Adam Daniel MezeiNo Gravatar Tuesday, 12 May, 2009, 4:47 am

    Thanks for this, IK. Though I’m still uncertain why one donates the plasma as opposed to the entire stream of blood. Is this because haemopheliacs cannot produce blood plasma, and this is the reason why we donate some of ours? Is blood type an issue? (I obviously have more to research on this front…) I’ll get on it later.

    –ADM

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