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Platelets Across America: Man raises awareness of need for blood, blood product donations

Man raises awareness of need for blood, blood product donations (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - It's a simple way to volunteer and save lives.

That's the message from a man from Cleveland who made a stop in Cincinnati.

He's on a mission to donate blood, or more specifically a product of blood called platelets, in every state in the country.

On Tuesday, he made a stop at Hoxworth Blood Center to say why this is his personal passion and why he hopes it will become part of yours too.

“I've donated in every state and three countries, and I’m on my second tour around the United States,” said Al Whitney.

Al Whitney is on a personal mission to raise awareness of the need for blood and blood product donations.

A platelet is a part of the blood which is needed to help stop bleeding. They are used in surgery, for cancer care and for those who otherwise might not survive without them.

“Any patient that has a problem with bone marrow failure, in other words their bone marrow doesn't make the cells they need to do what they need to do,” said Dr. Patricia Carey of Hoxworth Blood Center.

You can donate platelets every two weeks, or even more often if needed, through whole blood donation.

“The most common way that we produce platelets by having people do a collection with an apheresis machine, we can collect those separate out and return everything else to the donor,” said Dr. Patricia Carey of Hoxworth.

“I can donate more often and I can affect more lives,” said Al.

One of the things that Al says is important to notice is that you are not just giving someone blood or blood products, you are giving someone the gift of life.

He prefers to tell it sort of like this:

“They are going to help a father walk his daughter down the aisle, because they donated, they are going to have a mother see her son graduate from college because of what they do, they are going to have a mother and father take their child home from the hospital because they took the time to donate blood, that's what they are doing, they are saving a life,” said Al.

If you donate at any Hoxworth Center next week, you can get a FC Cincinnati blood orange t-shirt. It's a special drive to support the team.

Jeff Berding, FC Cincinnati’s general manager, says he's been a donor for a decade and thinks it's a great way to give back.

You can call 513-451-0910 and make an appointment or you can follow this link to find out more.

The blood you donate does go to local hospitals and stays in the Tri-State.

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