Blood, Apheresis, Marrow, Organ & Tissue, Cord Blood
LifeSouth’s Five Points of Life program represents the five ways you can share life with others through the donation of whole blood, apheresis, marrow and blood cells, cord blood and organ & tissue.
Whole blood is easy to donate, taking less than an hour of your time. Each donation is separated into red cells, platelets and plasma and can help three different people. Red cells carry vital oxygen and are used for surgery patients and accident victims; they can be stored for 42 days. Plasma provides fluid often needed by trauma and burn patients, it can be frozen and stored for one year. Platelets only last five days; they help the blood clot and are needed by many cancer patients, especially those in chemotherapy.
Apheresis is another way of donating blood cells. The needed blood components can be collected while the rest of the blood is returned to the donor. Apheresis donors are sometimes matched with specific patients who often need blood transfusions. One apheresis donor can provide the same amount of platelets as eight whole blood donors. This can make transfusion easier for patients.
Marrow donors provide stem cells needed for patients having transplants. These cells build a new blood supply for the patient. Bone marrow transplants are for people with leukemia, serious blood diseases and other disorders. Volunteers have their blood tested and can be called if a patient matching their type needs a transplant. Bone marrow is not collected unless needed for a specific patient.
Organ & tissue donations can help a wide variety of patients. Kidneys, hearts, livers, lungs, corneas and more can be transplanted to replace damaged or diseased organs and tissues. One donor often helps several patients regain normal lives. Individuals wishing to donate their organs and tissues should tell their families and sign Organ Donor Cards.
Cord blood, when collected immediately after birth from a baby’s umbilical cord, contains a high concentration of blood-forming stem cells. The cells can be frozen and stored for more than a decade. Cord blood is used as an alternative to bone marrow for patients needing stem cell transplants. Most cord blood transplant recipients have been children; studies are being done to determine which patients benefit most from the use of cord blood.