1 minute readBlood

Strangers Become Heroes Everyday: How Your Platelet Donations Can Help Save Lives

Liviya Anderson in a hospital bed as a young girl.

When some people hear “blood donation” they feel queasy or uncomfortable but for patients who need blood transfusions, they feel grateful. Liviya Anderson was diagnosed with aplastic anemia when she was just six years old and needed daily transfusions of blood and platelets for three months to help keep her alive.

“If Red Cross wasn’t here, I wouldn’t be here, and I know many other people wouldn’t be here,” said Anderson, now 13-years-old.  “Blood doesn’t come from nowhere. It has to come from people.”

Read more about Liviya’s story and how you can make a lifesaving difference for patients in need on the blog, A Hit of Happiness by Helaina Hovitz. 

Every 30 seconds, someone needs platelets. These tiny cells in the blood help stop bleeding. For millions of Americans, they are essential to surviving and fighting cancer, chronic diseases and traumatic injuries. Unlike whole blood donations (every 56 days), platelets can be donated every seven days, up to 24 times a year! This is important because platelets must be used within 5 days of donation.

What to expect during your platelet donation:

  • You need to make an appointment at a Red Cross Donation Center that collects platelets—they cannot be given at a blood drive.
  • From start to finish, it takes about three hours to donate platelets.
  • Both arms are used during donation, this is because blood is drawn from one arm then the platelets are extracted using a machine, and the remaining blood components are returned through the other arm.
  • Your one platelet donation, could help as many as three patients in need!

Learn more about platelet donation.

Make an Appointment

Please roll up your sleeve and be a hero to patients, like Liviya, in need. Make an appointment to give blood or platelets by visiting redcrossblood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App or calling 1-800-Red Cross (1-800-733-2767).