Give the Gift of Life: Why Platelet Donations Are Needed for Cancer Patients

jim Kuhlmann Donor Center

Research has shown that giving is good for us.

Many studies have linked generosity to better health: a decrease in stress levels, lower blood pressure and longevity in older adults. Giving also has been found to make people happier!

Whether it's finding gifts for loved ones or making monetary donations to your favorite charities, at this time of year, giving is on everyone's mind. However, you may not know that you can make a life-changing donation without spending a penny by donating platelets to cancer patients in desperate need.

Platelets are tiny blood cells formed in the bone marrow that help form clots to stop bleeding. Patients with blood cancers are often not able to produce their own platelets, which can result in frequent nose bleeds, bruising, bleeding gums and more severe health complications. Additionally, a low platelet count can delay necessary cancer treatments and prolong the overall treatment plan, so many patients need to receive regular platelet transfusions.

If you've donated blood, the process for donating platelets is quite similar. However, platelet donation involves a few more "cycles." The donor's red blood cells are returned back to him or her. As a result, donors can give platelets more frequently — every two weeks.

Platelets have a short shelf life and do not remain healthy for extended periods outside the body. For this reason, we encourage those giving blood to donate platelets as well or instead of blood. This helps supplement our high-frequency transfusion patients' constant need for them.

Donate blood or platelets

Learn more information about how you can help out the Donor Center at Roswell Park.

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"Donating was easy, and I felt so good knowing I was helping someone right there at Roswell Park. Over the years, I have been able to help many patients; some I've known and some I have not," says Jim Kuhlmann (pictured above), who has been donating platelets at Roswell Park for 50 years and is the Guinness World Record Holder for Most Donated Blood-Apheresis. "In one case, I donated directly to a co-worker's aunt. Years later, she surprised me by attending my retirement party, and I was elated to see a healthy woman that I had a small part in helping.

"We all make time for what is important to us, but do we make time for what is important to others? What could be more important than helping someone who is fighting for their life?"

Right now, we have an ongoing need for platelet donors!

Around vacation times and holidays like now, we have a more urgent need for blood and platelet donations. Thank you for considering donating the gift of life this holiday season!

To set a convenient appointment time for your donation, just call (716) 845-8275 or e-mail us at