January 05, 2015
When Patrick Gould first learned about platelet donation he was intrigued. Now he’s a dedicated platelet donor.
“I was giving whole blood and saw these people in the back with the curtain drawn,” he recalled. “I thought, ‘What’s going on with the wizard behind the curtain?’ and I was introduced to platelet donation. I thought, ‘I’ve got to do that.’ It was the natural next step to me.” He’s a regular donor, giving every two weeks or so.
While giving whole blood is relatively straightforward, giving platelets is more technically complex and takes a bit longer. Blood is taken from one arm through a needle into the pheresis machine, which contains a sterile, disposable plastic kit specifically designed for this purpose. Platelets and plasma are taken out of the whole blood, and red cells and sterile fluid are returned to the donor. The process takes approximately hours.
The time commitment doesn’t bother Patrick. “I think it’s the least I can do,” he said. “Two hours of my day every two, three weeks, maybe a month? I don’t think that’s asking a lot for the people who are going through what they’re going through.”
Platelets are essential for normal blood clotting and are used in the treatment of serious illnesses, including cancer, leukemia and aplastic anemia. Platelets are also used to help heart and transplant surgery patients.
“It’s cool science, how it separates, and there’s the reward of helping,” said Patrick. “You’re sitting there relaxed, watching a movie, and you’re being encouraged by the staff.”
Platelets must be transfused within five days, so the need for donors is constant. Unyts has platelet pheresis machines at its four Neighborhood Blood Donation Centers. “I go back and forth between the Southtowns and the Northtowns – I enjoy the staff at both,” said Patrick.
Patrick recently served as a member of Unyts’ board of directors and its development committee, but his connection to the world of blood donation started event earlier, when he was a student. Patrick initially gave through a different organization, but after Unyts began its community blood service in 2007, its message resonated with him. He’s glad to know that the blood he gives is helping local patients at local hospitals.
“I would recommend it, and I do recommend it to everyone I know,” Patrick said.
Advance appointments are required for platelet donations. To become a platelet donor, contact Barbara Vidal-Engaurran at 716-512-7993. Click here to make a whole blood donation appointment.
4444 Bryant and Stratton Way
Williamsville, NY 14221