ImpactLife salutes longtime platelet donors on reaching major milestones

Davenport, Iowa, March 03, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A pair of longtime platelet donors have reached significant donor milestones with ImpactLife, highlighting the importance of consistent donation patterns to meeting patient needs. Pete Bischoff, of Robins, Iowa, made his 1000th donation and Jim Parker, of East Moline, Illinois, hit 800 donations, both in February.

The two are part of a small group who have donated more than 100 gallons (800 donations or more) in the ImpactLife service region. The nonprofit blood provider based in Davenport, Iowa, has approximately 6000 active platelet donors who have made at least one donation in the last two years.

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Jim Parker gave blood for the first time while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps in the 1960s. He continued as a whole blood donor after returning from Vietnam, and recalls being asked to give platelet donation a try. His first donation was successful, and he soon joined a group of frequent platelet donors. Parker says he appreciates the feeling of community that has developed over years of giving on a routine basis. “You really get to know the staff and your fellow donors,” said Parker. “I’ve now had platelets drawn by two generations of phlebotomists.”

Pete Bischoff, of Robins, Iowa, gave blood for the first time during his military career as well, when the Army offered a brief period of leave for soldiers who gave blood. “I sure didn’t mind having the leave,” said Bischoff, “but I would have gladly done it for free.” Bischoff has maintained good health and eligibility to donate consistently for many years, reaching his 1000th donation earlier this year and placing him atop the list of ImpactLife’s list of most frequent donors.

Platelet donation process

During a platelet donation (known as plateletpheresis), an automated collection unit is placed next to the donation chair. The donor’s blood is drawn into the collection unit where a centrifuge spins to separate blood components. Once separated, a port opens inside the machine to remove platelets and the remaining blood components are returned to the donor. The entire process, including pre-donation screening and post-donation refreshments, can last approximately 70 minutes to two hours.

To help grow its base of platelet donors, ImpactLife is offering a $50 electronic gift card for those who donate platelets for the first or second time with ImpactLife. For information on eligibility for platelet donation, see www.bloodcenter.org/platelets

How platelets are used in patient care

Platelets are the component of blood that helps stop bleeding. When a blood vessel is damaged, platelets help stop or prevent bleeding by moving within the circulatory system to the damaged area. After collecting in the damaged area, platelets extend fibers, changing their shape to form a clot and stop bleeding.

Some people can develop a condition called thrombocytopenia, or a low platelet count, due to cancer or other underlying causes. Patients with thrombocytopenia might bruise easily, experience internal bleeding, or be unable to stop bleeding because their body doesn’t produce enough platelets. Platelets are frequently given to patients with thrombocytopenia, and with patients in treatment for cancer, for open heart surgery, organ and bone marrow transplants, and with victims of trauma.

Jim Parker has those recipients in mind when he comes to the Donor Center every two weeks. “Every time you donate, you either save a life or you extend someone’s life,” said Parker. “What could be better than that?”

Attachments

  • Platelet Donor Pete Bischoff
  • Platelet Donor Jim Parker

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