Calling All Red Blooded Americans!

Inspired by Helen’s post about Meals On Wheels, I want to mention another way you can give back to Los Angeles:

Donate Platelets. Literally give a part of yourself.

I can hear most of you, “Donate what?” Platelets baby, platelets! From the SoCal Red Cross website:
Platelets are blood components that help control bleeding. Platelets are critically important to the survival of patients with clotting problems, aplastic anemia, leukemia, cancer, [and to burn patients] and to patients who will undergo organ translplants or major surgeries like heart “by-pass” grafts.

You may ask, Why not just donate blood? Donating blood is a great idea. But let’s look at some facts and figures. Donated blood lasts about 42 days in storage (good shelf life!), but blood donors can only donate every 56 days (hmmm, that’s almost two months between donations.) Platelets only last five (5) days in storage (not good shelf life) but donors can donate again after only two weeks. That means you can donate up to 24 times a year. Think of the lives you’ll help support and save.

More about platelet donation and where to give after the clicky-clicky.

Donating platelets is easy, it just takes some time. For a regular donation allow for about 2 hours from start to finish. This time includes filling out paper work, having an interview with one of the nurse technicians (they check your medical history, test your blood pressure and iron levels.) I go to the UCLA Blood and Platelet Center and the BEST part is, once you get on the chair to donate, you get to watch a movie of your choice from their HUGE library of DVDs. Or you can surf the web, or even just read a book (that is, if you are good at reading one handed as your other arm is busy giving life.) Afterward, there is no rush to leave. Chill out, finish watching your movie, check your email. Go get your juice and cookies. Take pride in what you have done. Go home and rest knowing that in about 24 hours the platelets you have donated will already have been replaced by your beautiful body.

Oh and if all of that is not incentive enough, UCLA B and P Center gives you free movie passes to AMC or Pacific theaters to thank you for your time. They also have drawings every month. Over the Christmas holidays last year they were giving away a Mac laptop. Recently they were giving away iPods and groceries from Whole Foods. I’ll let you know if they will be giving away iPhones. That would get you in, wouldn’t it?

The staff at UCLA is great, very fun and kind and totally professional. Parking is free in the lot behind their location.

Click here for lots more information about platelets and how they work.

UCLA Blood and Platelet Center
1045 Gayley Avenue
2nd Floor
Los Angeles (Westwood), CA, 90024
(310) 206-6187 for Apheresis donation appointments and information
(310) 825-0888 for Blood donation appointments and information

You can also check the Southern California Red Cross site for info on other places to donate blood and platelets.

5 Replies to “Calling All Red Blooded Americans!”

  1. for many years i was a proud platelet donor, it really was a high unlike none other that i would have for a good 24 hours afterwards. i was a huge proponent of trying to get others to donate as well however you’d be surprised at how many needle phobic people there are out there.

    unfortunately i am now unable to donate as i have developed an allergic reaction to the anticoagulin and the newer chairs don’t allow the nurses to control the rate of it back into my body.

    i’m heartbroken and have been trying to find an alternate machine but have come up unsuccessful. damn advanced technology.

    thanks for spreading the word about this great way of donating.

  2. So sorry to hear that you can’t donate anymore! What a drag. Can you/do you donate blood instead now? Best of luck trying to find a better (less hi-tech) chair.

    I do know how many people are needle phobic and it does amaze me. I guess I’m lucky to be so relaxed about stuff like that.

    Keep spreading the good word, no matter what!

  3. I’ve done this at City of Hope, and it was incredibly easy and as painless as getting stuck with two needles can be.

    If you’ve never done something like this, you owe it to yourself to try at least once; with minimal effort on your part, you’re contributing to helping someone you’ll never even know. In some cases, you may even be saving someone’s life.

    How many among us can say we’ve done that?

  4. Thank you to those who give platelets and plasma.

    From someone who gets treatments derived from plasma. Ivig. For those who give . Thank you.

  5. Wil, technology has advanced that now there is only one needle, so only one arm is busy while donating. It’s pretty cool and even easier than you remember.

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