It’s a need like no other in the medical field. The platelets in your blood are like liquid gold in many ways. One bag of platelets helps boost the immunity of patients recovering from injuries, blood disorders, transplants, and cancer.
“Within the short lifespan of platelets, we have the responsibility to aid cancer patients, burn victims, and those who had surgery. This puts pressure on incoming platelets to keep up with the high demand,” says Juan Avellan, a Phlebotomist at SunCoast Blood Centers.
Platelets are a component of blood that helps in the clotting process. While abundant in our body, platelets only have a shelf life of 5 days post-donation.
Roughly, 23 units of platelets need to be collected each day to supply the local medical need. That’s why donors, like Scott Gadenken are so important.
“Donating platelets is an amazing way to give back to the community. It feels good knowing that I was able to make a significant impact on my local area and help those in need of platelets,” says Gadenken.
Platelets can also be extracted from a whole blood donation. The process begins after being sent to a laboratory, where a machine separates the red blood cells, plasma, and platelets. The donated unit is placed into a pathogen-reduced platelets treatment (PRT) machine. This machine uses ultraviolet light to remove any bacteria, reducing the risk of sepsis or infection before being sent to local hospitals. SunCoast Blood Centers was one of the first blood banks in the country to utilize PRT technology.
Platelet donation is vital because there is no synthetic substitute for human blood. It’s up to everyone to do their part. Donate today and help save lives. You never know when you or a loved one will be in need.
By Reva Gandhi, SunCoast Blood Intern and USF class of 2026