Be a lifesaver: donate platelets

In addition to giving blood, you can save lives by donating platelets. Platelet donation is one of the most meaningful ways to give back to your community and help those in need. Your platelets can be a lifeline for patients battling cancer, undergoing surgery, or facing severe illnesses.

What are platelets and who do they help?

Platelets are what prevent bleeding and cause blood to clot. For patients with leukemia or undergoing chemotherapy, platelet transfusions are a lifeline. Many chemotherapy drugs suppress the ability to produce platelets, which can lead to easy bruising, nosebleeds, and, in severe cases, life-threatening bleeding. Platelet transfusions become essential for cancer patients to maintain safe platelet levels.

Accident victims and patients undergoing surgeries where bleeding needs to be stopped also rely on platelet donations for survival.

How does a platelet donation work?

When you donate platelets, we use a special machine to draw blood from your arm and separate the platelets from the blood in a process called apheresis. The machine then returns the blood and other blood components to your body.

Who can donate platelets?

We welcome all blood types to donate platelets. We are in most need of A+, AB, B+, and O+ blood types. Women will need to have a blood draw before being approved as a platelet donor, as we have to test for human leukocyte antigen (HLA) antibodies first. The antibodies are perfectly healthy for an individual to have in their blood but could be harmful if transfused into certain patients.

How long does a donation take?

The entire process, including a quick health questionnaire, takes about two hours. During your donation, you can watch television or a movie, read a magazine or book, or just relax.

How often can I donate?

Your body replaces platelets within 24 hours. You can donate every 7 days, up to 24 times each year!

Doesn’t a normal blood donation include platelets?

Your typical whole blood donation does include platelets. However, a platelet donation contains 8-10 times as many platelets as a regular blood donation, providing even more benefit to our local patients.

Platelets are only available for transfusion for five to seven days, so there is always an ongoing need for donors.

Donor incentives

When you commit to donating platelets on a regular basis, you can earn some pretty cool incentives. Check out our 2024 reward program:

  • 2 donations – $25 Food City gift card
  • 4 donations – Admiral tote bag
  • 8 donations – Cozy Marsh blanket
  • 16 donations – Choice of 6 Dollywood tickets, Barter Theater voucher, soft-sided Yeti® cooler or a Samsonite® 360 overnight suitcase.
    Dollywood tickets can be secured for 2024 or 2025 season Barter Theater voucher (good for up to six tickets depending on seat location)

Next steps

Because platelet donations take a little longer than your typical blood donation, we always pre-schedule platelet donations for your convenience. Interested in becoming a platelet donor? Call (423) 408-7500 or fill out our online application.