If you’re looking for a break from all the holiday humdrum, the American Red Cross is collecting platelet donations this holiday week, including Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Platelets are small cell fragments in blood that function in clotting. Many patients who are undergoing an organ transplant or chemotherapy need platelets in their treatment. In addition, platelets are a vital element in surgical procedures as they help prevent massive blood loss.
The Red Cross said it is asking people to make a significant donation and in return, will thank donors by giving a few promotions.
Today, platelet donors will receive a $25 gift card. The following weekend, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, platelet donors can enter a drawing for a $250 Best Buy gift card. There will be a total of eight winners, each one selected daily from each Red Cross blood donation center where platelets are collected.
In addition, the Red Cross will give all donors -- including whole blood, double red cell and platelet donors -- an “I Bleed Silver & Black” t-shirt through Jan. 15, 2012.
Although only certain blood types are needed, the Red Cross will take a small portion of blood from a platelet donor’s arm. The blood will then be passed through a machine that separates cells and collects the platelets. The machine then returns the remaining blood components back to the donor.
According to the Red Cross, a patient in need can receive a full therapeutic dose throgh a single platelet donation. Some platelet donations can even provide enough platelets for two or three therapeutic doses.
To learn more about becoming a platelet donor, call the Red Cross at (888) 881-0988. Platelets are collected at Red Cross blood donation centers in Oakland, Pleasant Hill, Pleasanton and San Jose. The Pleasanton center, however, will not be open on Christmas day.