Carter BloodCare rolls out platelet bus
Carter BloodCare celebrated its acquisition of a new bus for platelet donations at the Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital on Monday.
"Platelets are very important to our community," said Linda Goelzer, director of public relations at Carter BloodCare. "They are important to almost every surgery."
The equipment used for platelet donations usually stays at the donation center or gets set up at one of the larger drives.
None of the other mobile units are equipped to take platelet donations, Mrs. Goelzer said.
"The equipment doesn't easily travel," she said.
The $325,000 bus was paid for with donations by the Rogers Foundation, Louis and Peaches Owen, Bob Herd and one anonymous donor.
Blenda McNatt was chosen as the face that would grace the side of the bus through sharing her story with the "Get on the Bus" campaign. She donates in honor of her son, Jonathan, a Marine Corps staff sergeant.
"When he got his promotion in 2012, he had to write letters to loved ones of men he had lost in combat," she said. "He talked about how hard that was for him. I wondered how I could help, beyond just the care packages we had been sending."
Mrs. McNatt decided to become a regular platelet donor in his honor and his men's memory.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to share the story," she said.
Platelet donation is a little different from straight blood cell donation.
Donating platelets, the part of the blood that is used for clotting, can help save 12 lives instead of the three affected by a standard blood donation, Mrs. McNatt said.
Dr. James Caccitolo, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at the hospital, emphasized the importance of platelet donation even further. The need for donations has increased more than 100 percent in the past 10 years, he said, because of the changes in the way surgeries are done and the increased use of blood thinners.
"Donors have a chance to be a tremendous benefit to the community," he said.
For more information or to schedule a donation or blood drive, call 903-330-0052.