Blood Donation is Popular on Thanksgiving

Doctors of the American Red Cross believe the Thanksgiving weekend to be quite appropriate time to appeal to people for blood donating.

Jon Balleseros, 24, and Lacey Sinclair, 21, both of Bangor, heard about the blood drive on the radio. The couple agreed that a pancake breakfast after giving blood was the first of three or four meals they would have on Thanksgiving Day.

Dwaine Witham, 50, of Detroit, works for the American Red Cross as a mobile unit assistant but had Thursday off. He decided Thanksgiving Day was a good time to try out the new technology at the center, which allows plasma and platelets to be collected from donors.

Platelets are critical to the clotting process and once collected must be used within five days, according to Darling. They cannot be frozen or stored. They are used for patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment, organ transplants and open-heart surgery.

Witham went through a procedure called apheresis (a-fur-EE-sis), which separates platelets and plasma and returned his red blood cells back to him. It takes about two hours, including paperwork, to donate platelets, according to an American Red Cross information sheet.

“This is a way of giving back and helping someone else,” Witham said, noting that three members of his family are cancer survivors.

Superior Court Justice Kevin Cuddy, 65, said he came to give blood on Thanksgiving Day because it was one of the few days when he had the time to donate.

Cuddy said that Thanksgiving was his favorite holiday. “I’m thankful for my health and the good people around me,” he said, “and the fact that we live in a free and sustaining society. We’re very lucky.”

The American Red Cross will conduct a blood drive 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at Bangor VFW Hall, 1356 Hammond St.

It will also hold an open house 10-11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8, at the Blood Center, 900B Hammond St., Bangor, to explain its new equipment, which allows platelets and plasma to be collected from donors, according to Bangor Daily News' report.

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