A better way for a runner to donate blood!

I posted last year about the effect of giving blood on your fitness. Basically, they take about 13% of your blood volume, which has a corresponding effect on your aerobic capacity, as you lose red blood cells. Plasma, white cells and platelets replenish themselves in a day or two, but red cells take weeks.

After I gave blood last year, I had a letter from the blood people asking if I would consider switching to donating platelets instead of whole blood (my blood group is AB-), so the next time I donated (in November) they took a platelet sample too, to check that I had sufficient platelets to make donation viable.

It was, so yesterday I went to a transfusion centre and made my first donation. They hook you up to a machine that extracts the platelets from the donor's blood (it draws out a quantity of blood, centrifuges it and collects the platelets, then returns the blood and goes through further cycles). The whole process takes about 80-90 minutes. There's very little blood lost through the process, and no loss of the other blood components, so no effect on fitness! You can donate up to 24 times a year, so I'm going to do it again in two weeks.

It's a very valuable form of donation - mainly helping cancer patients and unborn babies. I feel quite privileged to be one of the just 12-14,000 donors in the country.

7 Replies

  • Oh well done Steve! Interesting that you got a letter to request that. Maybe you have a high platelet count or something?! Good on you :)

  • I think it's my blood group. It's the rarest - 0.6% of the population.

  • Ahh I see! Even better, then! :)

  • No such luck for me... I'm A+, the 2nd most popular blood group I believe.

  • I'm not sure it's particularly lucky!

  • I was invited too, a few years ago, apparently my blood is perfect for babies or something, but when I looked into it they only accept people who can donate regularly. Living in France half the year means they can't use me - you'd think half the year was better than nothing....maybe when I'm here all the time...

  • At the JR in Oxford, the most donations they can manage in a day is 30. I think they really try hard to maximise the utilisation - while I was plumbed up to the machine, they arranged the next visit, two weeks later!

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