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What are platelets?

As the essential component of blood that controls bleeding, platelets save and sustain the lives of leukemia and other cancer patients, transplant recipients, and people with severe blood loss.

When a blood vessel is damaged, platelets collect at the site of the injury and activate substances in plasma which form a clot and allow the wound to heal.

Platelets are made in your bone marrow along with your white and red blood cells, and once made and circulated into your bloodstream, they live for 8 - 10 days.

Why is my donation so important?

With a shelf-life of only 5 days, donated platelets must be continually replenished.

To ensure patient needs are being met, volunteer platelet donors are in constant demand.

How do platelets work?

Where do my platelets go?


  • After a major surgery or injury, platelets are given to patients to replace those lost during blood loss and assist in the healing process.


  • Cancer patients often need lifesaving blood and platelet transfusions to replace these vital products lost during chemo, radiation, surgery, or bone marrow transplants.

Platelet Donation Eligibility

  • Be at least 17 years old
  • Weigh at least 110 lbs.
  • Be in good general health
  • Undergo a brief health screening before your donation
  • Have a hemoglobin level for females of 12.5 mg/L   
  • Have a hemoglobin level for males of 13.0 mg/L

Platelet Facts

  • Platelets, also known as thrombocytes, are very small cellular components of blood that are made in the bone marrow and survive in the circulatory system for an average of 8 - 10 days.
  • Considered a vital element of blood, platelets aid blood clotting by sticking to the lining of blood vessels, preventing possible day-to-day leakage as well as massive blood loss often associated with trauma.

Donation Facts

  • Platelets can be donated every 7 days.
  • The entire process normally takes about
    1.5 - 2 hours.
  • There are 4 steps to donating platelets:
    • Medical history
    • Mini-physical
    • Donation
    • Snacks!