Metro-East News

How to help local hospitals, areas devastated by Hurricane Matthew

EJ Hersom

The Red Cross issued an emergency call for platelet donations on Friday to meet the needs of local hospitals and areas devastated by Hurricane Matthew.

Platelets are the clotting portion of blood needed for cancer patients, trauma patients, those undergoing organ transplants and premature babies.

The hurricane, as well as seasonal colds and the flu, are preventing many from donating. The Red Cross said more than 100 blood drives were forced to cancel in the southeast, which means 3,500 blood and platelet donations went uncollected.

Cancer patients rely on platelet donations. Chemotherapy drugs and radiation used to treat cancer can affect the bone marrow where platelets are produced.

Robert Roggeman, the chief collections executive in the central region

Metro-east residents can donate at the Fairview Heights Blood Donation Center, 10886 Lincoln Trail. The donation process takes about two or three hours because blood is collected by a device that separates out the platelets and returns the blood back to the donor along with a saline solution. The Red Cross said videos, television and wireless Internet are available at some locations.

Download the American Red Cross Blood Donor app, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800- 733-2767 for more information and to make an appointment. Save time by using RapidPass to complete pre-donation reading and a health history questionnaire online before arriving for the donation. Visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.

Robert Roggeman, the chief collections executive in the central region, said the Red Cross refers to platelet donors as “cancer kickers” because of the help they provide people with the disease.

“Cancer patients rely on platelet donations,” Roggeman said. “Chemotherapy drugs and radiation used to treat cancer can affect the bone marrow where platelets are produced.”

Platelets can be donated every seven days, up to 24 times a year.

When you can donate

The following are the hours at the Fairview Heights platelet donation center:

  • Oct. 15: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Oct. 16: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Oct. 17: 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Oct. 18: 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Oct. 19: 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Oct. 21: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Oct. 22: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Oct. 23: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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