HÀ NỘI — Trần Văn Toan and his wife are among 200 outstanding platelet donors honoured by the National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusions (NIHBT) in 2021.
Each month, rain or shine, he and his wife visit NIHBT to donate. Since 2017, Toan has donated platelets 24 times.
At the age of nearly 60, Toan, a former military officer on Trường Sa (Spratly) Islands, said he would always be ready to donate blood and platelets to save lives as long as his health is good enough.
“The first time I registered to make donation, I was not well enough due to unstable blood pressure,” he told Tin Tức (News) newspaper.
“But I did not give up and was determined to try again the next time. I donate platelets once every 21 days, even during the social distancing period.”
Toan also encouraged his children to make donations.
He said “I am proud to encourage other family members to donate blood and platelets because we can do something meaningful for the community.”
On January 15, he and his wife were invited to join a ceremony with other outstanding platelet donors of the NIHBT. They took their son to the institute to donate blood for the first time.
Phạm Văn Hiếu, another outstanding donor, has donated platelets 40 times.
“I donate platelets more times than blood because of the high demand for platelets,” Hiếu said.
“You can donate platelets once every 21 days, shorter than the waiting period between blood donation times so I can make donations more frequently.”
Hiếu has so far encouraged 60 other people to also donate.
He added: “I wish more people will learn about blood and platelet donations so that everyone can help save lives.
“My life is more meaningful and my health has changed positively since I started to donate. I feel like blood in my body is always being replaced.”
Among those honoured by the NIHBT, many have donated blood and platelets 100 times. Some donated platelets 17 times during 2021.
Dr Trần Ngọc Quế, of the National Blood Centre, said during the pandemic, their blood reserve dropped to a low level, posing blood shortages for treatment. But just by sending out the call, they received an enthusiastic response from donors.
“In spite of the pandemic and social distancing, we still ensured enough platelets for treatment and did not spread virus to the donors,” he said.
“It was a huge achievement.”
In recent years, the need for platelets separated from a single donor has increased. The NIHBT has received an average of about 20,000 platelet units per year. In 2021, 33,314 platelet units were sent to the institute. About 65 per cent of them were from voluntary donations.
According to Dr Quế, platelets are a very special type of blood product which is used for treatment and prevention of bleeding manifestations but only has a very short shelf life and storage (three to five days).
A lot of different diseases related to haemostasis disorders, often severe cases, require platelet transfusion such as thrombocytopenic purpura, platelet dysfunction, bone marrow failure, myelogenous disorders, blood cancer or cancers that have spread to the bone marrow.
Platelet donation requires higher standards than blood in terms of weight of donors, platelet count and longer donation time (from 60-100 minutes compared to five minutes for donating blood). But only two to three weeks after the donation, donors can donate again. — VnExpress News
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