Leo Serrano, Director of Laboratory Services, at Avera McKennan.
The Avera McKennan Blood Bank is trying to get the word out about donating blood and a technique you may not have heard of called apheresis.
"One of the advantages of aphoresis donations is that instead of donating every eight weeks. You can donate up to every two weeks," said Leo Serrano, Director of Lab Services at Avera McKennan
The technique and allows staff to draw specific blood products, such as platelets, or red blood cells. Serrano said platelets are vital to the survival of many who are battling a disease including cancer patients.
"Because of our active cancer center we have a significant request or a significant need for a consistent supply of single donor apheresis platelets," he said.
In fact, area hospitals and patients in the surrounding tri-state area depend on the Avera McKennan Blood Bank to meet their apheresis needs.
"On any given day we can be very short so we want to open it up to the community and ask them to not only give blood but also blood platelets," he said. "It takes a bit longer but you're pampered for about an hour."
Donors say they know their gift goes a long way in helping someone they may never meet, but will surely appreciate it. A single apheresis platelet donation can help the lives of two patients. With just a five-day storage life platelet donations are delivered quickly to the patients who need them. Donors have the satisfaction of knowing their donation will save a life within just a few days.