Ireland needs more blood platelet donors. Platelets are a component of blood, essential to stop bruising and bleeding. Over 22,000 platelet transfusions are needed every year in Ireland - I donate about 10 times a year at the Irish Blood Transfusion Service Clinic in St James's Hospital. Especially at holiday time, donations are needed more than ever. Unlike whole blood, platelets only last a few days - so a steady supply is needed. Today I did my 150th donation. Platelets are used in the treatment of cancer and leukemic patients, bone marrow transplant, new born babies and burns victims. The Irish Blood Transfusion Service provides life-saving platelets to all of the hospitals in Ireland. Due to the rising number of cancer diagnosis in the country, there is always a need for platelet donors. There are just 2,400 Irish platelet donors and they are looking for new donors to join the panel.
You can see a Blood Platelet Apheresis Machine to my left in the photo above. Basically it extracts whole blood, and removes the platelets with a centrifuge, and returns what's left. It's completely painless (OK - the needle at the beginning can sting for a second) and takes about 50-70 minutes, though this varies from donor to donor. My donation took 73 minutes today. I started to watch the movie "Passengers" on Netflix throughout the donation.
If you are interested in becoming a blood platelet donor, check out the Give Platelets page at the Irish Blood Transfusion Service's web site. You'll be glad you did it!
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