The platelet donation process can take as long as two hours to complete, which is why Benton Rhoades’ 100th platelet donation milestone is such an accomplishment. As a Waynedale area resident Rhoades makes the trip to the Fort Wayne Donor Center on a regular basis to give the gift of platelets. He says, “I give because I hope to help someone else, or even save someone’s life.”
When Rhoades was only eleven years old he was in a serious auto accident. Someone at the scene who helped save his life had been a Red Cross volunteer. While in the hospital Rhoades received blood transfusions, was treated for broken bones and still suffers a brain injury as a result of the accident. But when asked why he chooses to donate platelets, Rhoades said, “When I was in the hospital I was at the mercy of blood donors. Because others gave I am still alive today. That is why I choose to donate and hopefully give life to others in need.”
Platelet pheresis uses a cell separator to collect only platelets and returns the other blood components to the donor. The concentrated dose of platelets collected through platelet pheresis is as many as six to 24 times the amount collected in a traditional whole blood donation. Platelet products are primarily used by cancer patients. When a patient is having extensive chemotherapy, the production of blood cells is affected and the platelet count may drop to a critical level.
“We are so thankful for our platelet donors and the time that they sacrifice in order to ensure that platelets are available for the patients in our community,” said Raquel Sims, manager of the platelet pheresis program for the Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross. Sims added, “We hope others will join Rhoades and become faithful platelet or blood donors.”
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