Friends rise to the challenge of critical blood and platelet shortages

During critical shortages, surgeries and medical treatments can get postponed until much-needed blood components become available.

It’s a life-threatening reality for patients in need and their families and friends, one that Carter BloodCare donor Bill Martin knows painfully well.

He recalled a close college friend and work colleague who experienced a heart attack in his early 40s and another in his 50s.

“It shocked all of his friends. Of the group, he was the best physically in-shape person we knew,” Bill said. “He played on outdoor/indoor soccer teams and several softball teams, and did other physical activities. He had kept his high school gymnastic physique into his early 60s.”

After analyzing and monitoring his health throughout the years, doctors ordered a heart procedure to hopefully prevent future heart attacks.

“In July 2022, he celebrated his 64th birthday in the hospital, awaiting platelets that delayed his originally planned operation,” Bill said. “Unfortunately, three days after his birthday, he died in the hospital, still waiting for his platelets.”

Helping critical patients without delay

A consistent whole blood donor since retirement who’d made the switch to donating platelets, Bill recognized he could make a difference for others in critical need. When he switched from donating whole blood, Bill’s first experience with the apheresis process for platelets went so well that he safely upped his donation from one unit per session to two.

He took up Carter BloodCare’s Platelet Challenge of six donations every quarter, maxing out the individual platelet donations per year at 24.

“My goal is two units of platelets each donation,” he said. “Of the 13 donations achieved so far, 12 of 13 have been two units. If I hit 48 units, it is six gallons of platelets per year.”

Two more close friends are also donating platelets as often as they can, Bill said.

By rising to the challenge together, they are dedicated to helping others through critical health challenges.

The need for platelets, blood and plasma is nonstop. Like Bill, you can make a positive difference for patients by donating at a Carter BloodCare donor center or mobile blood drive near you, or call 800-366-2834 for more information.

If you’ve ever received a transfusion, your experience can save lives by motivating others to donate.
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