Blood donors urged to give platelets
Donors have been urged to make the switch from whole blood to platelets, with a new campaign by NHS Blood and Transplant to raise awareness of the importance of platelet donation in lifesaving cancer care.
Platelets are cells within the blood that are crucial for patients with blood cancers, such as leukaemia. Whole blood donors often graduate into platelets donation, particularly men because of their tendency to have bigger arm veins. Yet there is a lack of knowledge among whole blood donors surrounding this type of donation and the patient care it is used for. Nearly 70% of platelet donations are used to help people with cancer.
The new campaign by NHS Blood and Transplant aims to tackle this gap in knowledge by publishing a series of explainer videos which will show how platelet donation works. These will highlight the benefits and need for platelet donations, to encourage people to have a go at a switch when booking their next appointment. One platelet donation can help up to twelve children with cancer.
Two-year-old Evie Marshall, from Shoreham by the Sea, West Sussex, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma a year ago. Evie had eight rounds of chemotherapy, each time accompanied by nine platelet transfusions, which helped save her life. Mum Kelly explained: “Platelets helped give Evie a fighting chance. Each time she received the transfusions the colour would come back to her face immediately; her energy levels would dramatically increase, and she responded better to treatment.”
Bev Caldwell, components donations support manager said: “It is very easy to switch from whole blood to platelet donation. The donation does take longer but it’s a very rewarding way for regular donors to give more often. We are urging whole blood donors to make the switch and help keep platelet care for cancer and other illnesses going.”
There is a particular need for more platelet donors with A negative, AB negative and A positive blood types. For further information, visit: https://platelets.blood.co.uk