New platelet donors needed in London to help cancer patients
NHS Blood and Transplant needs more than 500 new platelet donors at donor centres in London, including the blood centre based at St George’s Hospital.
Platelets are blood cells that are crucial for patients with blood cancers such as leukaemia, and a range of illnesses and accidents.
London uses 77,000 units of platelets a year and NHS Blood and Transplant need more new donors, particularly group A blood type, to help keep up with demand.
More than half the platelets issued go to patients with blood cancer and NHS Blood and Transplant is making the appeal to mark the end of Blood Cancer Awareness Month.
Olga Iturri-Tyler, 22, from Kentish Town, received more than 100 units of red blood cells and plasma after being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in April 2017.
Olga’s cancer is now remission and she has maintenance chemotherapy once a week. She is just about to start her third year studying History and Politics at Oxford University, after a missing a term of her second year due to treatment.
She said: “Donating blood and platelets is amazing – a really beautiful thing to do. I feel so much gratitude to everyone who donates.
“My family have been really involved in donating and my boyfriend organised a blood donation drive at Tooting Donor Centre.
“I felt like I had so much more energy when I had a blood transfusion and the platelets helped stop the internal bleeding.”
Platelet donation takes longer than blood donation but you can do it more often, making platelet donors a committed and select type of donor.
The London platelet donation centres are:
- Tooting Blood Donor Centre (site of Ste George’s Hospital) 75 Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RB
- Edgware Blood Donor Centre (site of Edgware Community Hospital), Burnt Oak Broadway, Edgware HA8 0AD.
- West End Blood Donor Centre, 26 Margaret St, Marylebone, London W1W 8NB.
NHS Blood and Transplant particularly needs A negative donors because their platelets can be given safely to any patient.
Abi Howse, Patient Information Manager at blood cancer charity Bloodwise, said: “Platelets are important cells that help your blood to clot and prevent bleeding.
“But leukaemia and other blood cancers, and cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, can cause the number of platelets in your blood to reduce.
“This puts people with cancer at risk of serious bleeding, and is why many people need platelet transfusions.
“By donating platelets at London’s donor centres, you can help people with cancer through their treatment and save lives locally and around the country.”
Lynne Moulder, NHS Blood and Transplant’s National Component Donation Marketing Manager, said: “One platelet donation can help up to twelve children.
“Platelet donation takes longer than blood donation and our platelet donors are committed and special people.
“We use machines that filter the platelets from your circulating blood. It takes just under two hours and many people use it as a chance to relax and read. You can donate platelets more often than you can donate blood.
“Platelets don’t just save the lives of people with blood cancers. They help patients suffering any kind of major blood loss, for example someone having a transplant or cardiac surgery. Please start donating platelets in London.”
Caption: Olga Iturri Taylor with her boyfriend Alex St John