By Sara Kirkley, Weekend Anchor / Reporter - email
Grand Island, NE -
The American Red Cross is not only asking for your blood donations; they need platelets.
Platelets are often used for people going through chemotherapy or an organ transplant.
One platelet donation can be worth from 12 to 18 whole blood donations, according to the Red Cross.
Ken and Janelle Hunnicutt drive from Giltner to Grand Island every other Sunday to donate.
Janelle has been giving platelets for more than 20 years. She started after a family friend was diagnosed with cancer.
"Once that need was no longer there, there were still other people," she said.
So, every two weeks Janelle keeps donating.
Three and a half years ago her husband joined her.
"People need platelets every day so I figure I can spare a little bit of time and donate," said Ken.
"It's kind of strange to call this our date night, but we usually go out and eat afterwards,” said Janelle, laughing. “It's good to have the time together."
Platelet donation does take time. The process can last up to two hours as opposed to a ten minute blood donation.
"You commit time to other things, why not this?" said Janelle.
The Hunnicutts said it's easy to give.
"Just sit here in the chair with a needle in your arm for two hours, for me anyway. I usually watch TV or visit with the nurses," said Ken.
"It's painless. It's a needle prick," said Janelle.
She also said, it’s important.
"It's bigger than just me. It's something I can do that they can't manufacture,” said Janelle. “If people don't take the time to do it, what's going to happen?"
Here’s how the Red Cross explains platelet donation: “During a platelet donation, a small portion of your blood (about 1/4 pint at a time), is drawn from your arm and passed through a sophisticated cell-separating machine. The machine collects the platelets and safely returns the remaining blood components, along with some saline, back to you. After the donation you can resume your normal activities, avoiding heavy lifting or strenuous exercise that day.”
Whether or not you can donate depends on your platelet count and blood type.
NTV's 11th Annual Tri-Cities Blood Drive May 5, Noon-6:00 p.m. Holiday Inn locations: