September 21, 2021

DAYTON, Ohio - Community Blood Center is celebrating Sept. 21 Apheresis Awareness Day. The goal is to honor our platelet, plasma, and double red donors and our apheresis collection staff for their dedication to saving lives. We also look back on the darkest days of the COVID-19 when many became apheresis donors to help meet the emergency demand for COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma.

Platelet and plasma donors are always in demand because these blood components are critical for the treatment of cancer, trauma, transplant, and burn patients.

In some cases, donors like Jerry Drum from Centerville are called on to help a specific patient because they are an HLA match. Human Leukocyte antigens (HLA) are proteins found in platelets and a donor-patient match means the HLA type is very similar and urgently needed.

Jerry said he gives platelets, "Just to give back." His Apheresis Day donation happened to be when an HLA match was needed. "I'm doing platelets and plasma, I'm doing what they want," he said. "They called me about an HLA match when I was in Michigan.  After I got back, I called, and they said they had an HLA match, so I came in."

CBC apheresis staff member Leta Shatsby is a regular whole blood donor. On Apheresis Day she made her first double red blood cell donation.

"I carry a high hemoglobin count so I thought it would be a benefit for me to give double reds," said Leta. "Now that I'm getting trained in apheresis, I know more of what it's about. It's been a great experience to do double reds."

Leta and her apheresis teammates are wearing "Apheresis Day" ribbons on their name badges and special Apheresis Awareness pins.

The Positive Spin of Apheresis Awareness Day:

  • The slogan for Apheresis Awareness Day is "Spinning to Advance Apheresis Medicine" because of the automated centrifuge process that spins and separates the blood components.
  • Platelets & plasma are critical for the treatment of cancer, trauma, transplant, and burn patients.
  • Apheresis registration & screening is like a whole blood donation. The actual donation takes a little longer.
  • Types A, AB or B+ are ideal for giving platelets, AB or B+ are ideal for plasma.
  • Type O is ideal for double red cell donations.