Blood platelet supply critically low at Children’s Hospital Colorado, more donors needed


AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Children’s Hospital Colorado says the platelet supply at the Blood Donor Center in Aurora is critically low, and they need more people to donate.

Claudia Maniatis is trying to help spread the word. Her son Will Maniatis spent months at Children’s Hospital Colorado fighting acute myeloid leukemia. “Blood and platelets literally kept Will alive while he was in treatment,” she said.

Claudia knows there are so many kids who need blood and platelets. “They all really rely on the kindness of strangers to fill the call,” she said.

Unfortunately, Claudia’s son Will lost his hard-fought cancer battle in February at the age of 15. It was an excruciating time, but his Lone Tree family found purpose in their grief. They started the WillStrong Foundation to raise money for childhood cancer research, and to raise awareness for things like blood donation.

“It’s literally critical for kids who are fighting cancer, and especially blood cancers. They really will not survive without those blood infusions and platelet infusions, and so many people want to help, and help can come in so many different forms,” Maniatis said.

Right now you can help by donating platelets. “We just have a general increased number of patients who are needing platelets, so our normal inventory is essentially being depleted every single day,” said Dr. Kyle Annen, the medical director of the transfusion service at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

“We take all blood types of course, but A and AB are the ones that we need the most,” she said.

Dr. Annen says platelets are only good for seven days, so there is no way to really stockpile. “We just need more donors,” she said. 

The Blood Donor Center takes extra precautions during the COVID pandemic. The donation stations are spaced apart and wiped down in between donors. The center has expanded collection times and added an emergency collection date on Nov. 28, starting at 6:30 a.m.

Donors can call the Blood Donor Center at 720-777-5398 to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets.

It does take a little bit longer to donate platelets than it does to donate blood. “The difference with platelets is that you are hooked onto a machine where we take a little bit of blood out at a time, and just separate out the platelets and give you everything else back. That takes a little bit longer than usual,” Dr. Annen said. 

If you have had COVID-19, you have to wait 28 days after your symptoms are gone before you can donate.

The Maniatis family hopes everyone will consider donating. The WillStrong Foundation organized blood drives in the past, and plans to organize more in the future.”You walk away knowing that you have literally saved a life,” Maniatis said.

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