Whole blood donations: This is the standard donation, so I won’t go into any details. Please give blood if you can. Thank you!
Platelets/plasma: After my latest round of chemo, I’ve needed many more transfusions than my previous rounds. So far, in 16 days I’ve needed two units of whole blood and today I’m receiving my fifth unit of platelets. I would be extremely anemic and hemophiliac and severely immuno-compromised without these transfusions. Every time I need blood, I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who donates blood. Especially Alex, my amazing hubby, who gives platelets regularly.
Just platelets? Yes. Apheresis donations involve the collection of only platelets and/or plasma (with the other parts of your blood returned to your body), can be made only by type A+, B+, or AB donors, and can be made up to 24 times a year vs. six times for whole blood. Apheresis takes about twice as long but is worth up to 18 whole blood donations (redcrossblood.org)!
Bone marrow/stem cells: Join the bone marrow registry online at bethematch.org (or at a bone marrow drive) and provide a sample of your cells by swabbing your cheek. Joining the registry costs $100 but can save someone’s life. If you are a match, the the costs of actual bone marrow or stem cell donation are completely covered. Check out my friend Drew’s #swabface project and post your photo if you dare.
I most likely will not need a bone marrow transplant, but if I do I’ll be relying on the bone marrow registry. Pamela went through hell and high water to get her blood drawn to be thoroughly checked for me, but we are only half-matched. Oh well.
Cord blood/stem cells: Save a life by donating your baby’s umbilical cord rather than letting it be thrown away. Donating cord blood is absolutely painless and completely free, and makes use of a rich source of stem cells that would otherwise be wasted. I wish I’d known about this when I had Zoe and Griffin. Go to bethematch.org for more info.