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Red Cross adds apheresis machine for blood drive Feb. 8-9
Photos and Story by Meryl Lipman
Portland Community College Rock Creek will add a new feature to its quarterly blood drive. For the first time at the west Portland campus, The American Red Cross will have a double red cell (apheresis) machine available to take five donations per day.
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 8 and Wednesday, Feb. 9, Rock Creek will host the blood drive in the Event Center, Building 9. When people make a blood donation, they join a very select group. Currently only three out of 100 people in America donate blood. Please remember to bring picture I.D.
Double red blood cell donations differ from standard “whole blood” donations in that they collect twice the number of red blood cells. The donation takes 25-30 minutes as blood is collected a fraction at a time, run through a Centrifuge to separate the red cells, and then many of the components, plus saline, are filtered back to the donor. Joseph Shockley, the High School and College Representative for American Red Cross in Portland, suggests that donors eat a good meal, drink water, and avoid caffeine prior to their appointment, but assures that, “People feel the effects of (apheresis) even less than with normal donations,” he said.
Apheresis donors are only able to donate three times a year, as opposed to the standard 56-day deferral window. To qualify for apheresis, male donors must stand at least 5’1” tall and weigh at least 135 pounds. Female donors must be 5’5” or taller and weigh over 150 pounds. This, Shockley explained, is because men are more prolific generators of red blood cells than women; they also have higher blood volume, muscle mass and iron counts. “That is why we, as men, should man up, be brave and donate,” he said.
Red blood cells are the most commonly used component in transfusions, among trauma victims, cancer patients, people with clotting disorders, and more, which makes this accelerated process a highly effective collection method.
To make an appointment, please sign up in the student center or contact Rock Creek ASPCC, (971) 722-7442.