More ways to save lives with Red Cross than just donating blood


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The American Red Cross is marking 100 years of service and CBS North Carolina is helping them celebrate with a blood drive.

Together with the Triangle Chapter, we’ll host drives in Raleigh and Durham Friday.

RELATED: Red Cross, CBS North Carolina team up for 100th anniversary blood drives

But donating blood isn’t the only way you can change a life through the Red Cross.

“This is just something small that you can do,” said Sherry Knepper, a long-time Red Cross donor.

Knepper and her husband, Don, have been donors for around two decades.

They started out giving blood but then learned about donating platelets.

“My mom passed away because of cancer. She was one or two doctor’s appointments away from needing platelets but she didn’t survive. So it kind of makes it a little more personal,” said Sherry.

Don’s mother passed away from cancer as well. He knows that cancer patients depend on platelet donations.

“Their bone marrow does not produce platelets and the patients are at risk of bleeding to death. So the only thing that actually saves them is platelets from donors like the ones we have here,” said Rossitza Todorova, an American Red Cross Team Supervisor.

Donating platelets takes longer than donating blood.

Most sessions last about two hours.

“You choose a movie, they keep you nice and comfy, they wrap you up in nice warm blankets,” said Sherry.

Despite the time it takes to get the platelets, Todorova says they have a very short shelf-life.

“Platelets will be good for five days outside the body of the donor. We have 24 hours to do all the testing and use the product in next following four days,” said Todorova.

Because of that short shelf-life, donated platelets are usually used by local patients. It also means there is always a need for more.

“We need donors. Anyone that is willing to spare some time and share their blood to help someone, we need them all the time,” said Todorova.

“If people are looking for a way to have an impact on somebody’s life, this is a way to do it,” said Don Knepper.

If you’d like to donate platelets, you can visit the Red Cross website to find your nearest donation center.

The Red Cross is always in need of blood donors as well.

Friday’s blood drives will go from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh and from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Northgate mall in Durham.

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