MD Anderson makes plea for blood, platelets

MD Anderson is short this holiday season and they are asking for donors
December 27, 2013 5:32:09 PM PST
MD Anderson Cancer Center is facing a shortage that's impacting surgeries . The hospital desperately needs blood and platelets.

Brittany Holden came to Houston from Fort Worth to spend the holidays with her family. Instead of shopping, she's giving blood and platelets to MD Anderson. Her inspiration is her late mother, Kathy Evans, a former patient who died of thyroid cancer.

"She was the most happy person. I never saw her cry," said Holden. "I mean, she had cancer for 11 years and I never saw her cry, so I figure I can take a needle prick if she can take all of that."

MD Anderson is experiencing a dip in blood donations, which tends to happen over the holidays. On a day when 50 donors are needed, there are only 20.

At a cancer hospital, the demand for blood is constant, unlike other hospitals where the need is considerably less.

"It causes potentially some of their treatments to be postponed because they need enough platelets or enough hemoglobin to be able to receive their chemotherapy or radiation," said Gary Griffin, manager with the MD Anderson Blood Donor Center.

What the center needs most right now is platelets.

"They're only good for a couple of days. For our patients, they have to be very, very fresh," said Griffin. "So that's the one that we're basically rationing, if you will. Patients are waiting until we can get it tested and collected to receive their dose."

Brittany's one donation will help four patients within the next 24 hours.

"Most everything we collect today will be transfused by noon-2pm tomorrow," said Griffin.

"The best gift that you can give to someone is a chance at life," said Holden.

If you are interested in donating, you can do so at 2555 Holly Hall in Houston. They're open Monday through Friday between 10am and 7pm and on Saturdays and Sundays between 10am and 5pm. You're asked to call 713-792-7777 first.

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