I knew Brian from refereeing ice hockey. Our group of friends had been involved in youth hockey for decades; we are a close and giving community. Then, about 11 years ago, Brian was diagnosed with cancer. We all got together to figure out what we could do to help him. We just wanted to do something. I chose to start donating platelets.
Sadly, my friend passed away less than a year into his cancer journey. I could have stopped my platelet donations, but I knew that there were so many more cancer patients who needed help. Every two weeks on a Saturday – that’s my schedule and I have kept it going for more than a decade now.
I direct my donations (meaning I choose which patient my platelets will go to) whenever I can because unfortunately, I have known a lot of people who have been affected by this disease. A friend of mine is currently recovering from a bone marrow transplant and my mother is now a two-time cancer survivor. Even if the person you direct your donation to can't use it, it will still be given to another patient. A donation never goes unused.
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My goal is to get at least one or two new people to donate platelets every year. My parents were longtime volunteers, so I was raised to give back. It’s just a natural thing to do. Be a good citizen and be part of the community. The actual process of donating platelets is different for everyone, but for me, I’ve never had an issue. It’s not painful. You can sit back, relax, squeeze a ball, watch TV or read. It’s really a breeze. Roswell does a lot of good things for a lot of good people and we need everyone’s support. Donating platelets is only a couple hours out of your day but can make a huge difference. Not much of a sacrifice if you ask me.
I think about Brian a lot. Every two weeks when I am in that donation chair, I remember how this all started. It was all for Brian. Our group of friends talks about him frequently and we do whatever we can to keep his memory alive and give back – whether it's donating platelets, volunteering or raising money. Losing a friend is never easy, but I know Brian would be proud.
To make an appointment at the Roswell Park Donor Center, please visit our donor center page or call 716-845-8275.