January 05, 2015
When Patrick Gould first learned about platelet donation he was intrigued. Now he’s a dedicated platelet donor.
“I was giving whole blood and saw these people in the back with the curtain drawn,” he recalled. “I thought, ‘What’s going on with the wizard behind the curtain?’ and I was introduced to platelet donation. I thought, ‘I’ve got to do that.’ It was the natural next step to me.” He’s a regular donor, giving every two weeks or so.
While giving whole blood is relatively straightforward, giving platelets is more technically complex and takes a bit longer. Blood is taken from one arm through a needle into the pheresis machine, which contains a sterile, disposable plastic kit specifically designed for this purpose. Platelets and plasma are taken out of the whole blood, and red cells and sterile fluid are returned to the donor. The process takes approximately hours.
The time commitment doesn’t bother Patrick. “I think it’s the least I can do,” he said. “Two hours of my day every two, three weeks, maybe a month? I don’t think that’s asking a lot for the people who are going through what they’re going through.”
Platelets are essential for normal blood clotting and are used in the treatment of serious illnesses, including cancer, leukemia and aplastic anemia. Platelets are also used to help heart and transplant surgery patients.
“It’s cool science, how it separates, and there’s the reward of helping,” said Patrick. “You’re sitting there relaxed, watching a movie, and you’re being encouraged by the staff.”
Platelets must be transfused within five days, so the need for donors is constant. Unyts has platelet pheresis machines at its four Neighborhood Blood Donation Centers. “I go back and forth between the Southtowns and the Northtowns – I enjoy the staff at both,” said Patrick.
Patrick recently served as a member of Unyts’ board of directors and its development committee, but his connection to the world of blood donation started event earlier, when he was a student. Patrick initially gave through a different organization, but after Unyts began its community blood service in 2007, its message resonated with him. He’s glad to know that the blood he gives is helping local patients at local hospitals.
“I would recommend it, and I do recommend it to everyone I know,” Patrick said.
Advance appointments are required for platelet donations. To become a platelet donor, contact Barbara Vidal-Engaurran at 716-512-7993. Click here to make a whole blood donation appointment.
Headquartered in downtown Buffalo and established in 1981.
Unyts is among the leading procurement organizations in the United States, and is one of the only eight centers nationwide to house organ, tissue and eye procurement in one location. With the addition of Community Blood Service, Unyts has become the first organization of its kind nationwide. Unyts operates as a non-profit serving the eight counties of Western New York and works to assist donor families, coordinate the donation process and increase knowledge and awareness within the community regarding transplantation.
Unyts routinely has helped to secure higher rates of donation in Western New York than the national average. When approached following the death of a loved-one for organ donation, Western New York families are very generous. In 2014 the Unyts conversion rate was 81.5%– the national average was 63.2%. Due to these numbers, Unyts is ranked as one of the top procurement organizations nationwide. As recently as 1997, Unyts had just 200 donors; in 2014 the organization surpassed 1,200.
The organization’s network and success have gone hand-in-hand, and as a result, Unyts has been able to spread the message that transplantation is vital – and transplantation saves lives. Unyts is currently headed by President & CEO Mark Simon, and Chair of the Board of Directors David Carlson.
*As of January 1, 2012, Unyts operates under, d/b/a Unyts, WNY’s only Organ, Eye, Tissue and Community Blood Center. We are no longer Upstate NY Transplant Services.
Official partner of the Buffalo Bills
110 Broadway, Buffalo, NY 14203