Frank Knight of St. Petersburg is about to do something only six other people in the Tampa Bay area have done. Next week, Knight, 70, will make a blood donation that brings him to the 100 gallon mark. It has taken Knight 50 years to achieve this milestone. He started out as a whole blood donor and in the 1980s joined the ranks of the elite by becoming a platelet and plasma donor. Giving both components in one visit takes a couple of hours, unlike whole blood donation, which takes just a few minutes. Platelets control blood clotting and are used by cancer, leukemia, open heart surgery, blood disorder and organ transplant patients. One pint of whole blood contains less than an ounce of platelets. It takes four to six people giving whole blood to get the platelets Knight gives in one donation. Plasma serves as the body's transportation system for salts, minerals and vitamins and it helps the body fight disease. Plasma is given to trauma, burn and organ transplant patients.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Frank Knight will reach the 100-gallon mark for blood donation on Tuesday, Aug. 18 at Florida Blood Services, 10100 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street N in St. Petersburg. A story Monday gave an incorrect date.
Summer months typically see a drop in blood donations because school is out (high school students make up 15% of all local blood donations) and many people go out of town. Plus Labor Day weekend is traditionally a time of high demand on the blood supply. So now's a good time to help if you:
• Are at least 16 years old.
• Have a photo ID.
• Feel well on the day of donation.
• Weigh at least 110 pounds.
• Haven't had a tattoo or chemo or radiation treatment in the past year.
• Haven't been pregnant in the past six weeks
For more information, visitfbsblood.org.
• Whole-blood donors can give at fixed blood donation centers, bloodmobiles and at blood drives. Whole blood can be given once every 56 days. Most platelet donations are made at fixed centers. Platelets are collected with plasma and can be given every two weeks.
• Call toll-free 1-800-682-5663 for information on blood center locations, blood mobiles or for an appointment to donate platelets.
• The red blood cells of type O donors are always in great demand because they can be given to just about any patient. Type A+ or B+ donors' red blood cells aren't needed as much, but their platelets are always in demand, said Dan Eberts of Florida Blood Services.