There is always a shortage of platelets in Birmingham, and especially around the holidays.  Platelet donation is very very important, and so few are aware of it.  It takes about 1.5-2 hours to donate platelets.  They hook you up on both arms, pull blood out, pull out the platelets, and return the plasma.  The “shelf life” of a batch of platelets from one person, is 4 days.  This is much different from whole blood, which can be refrigerated for several months, and even frozen if needed.  Lydia needs to have CMV negative platelets.  Most of the adult population is CMV positive.  What this means, is that you have dormant virus in your blood for the cytomegalovirus, (because at some point in your life, you’ve had this virus..usually shows up as a common cold, and the virus remains and lies dormant in your system).  Some adults have not had the virus, and therefore do not have it in their system.  The only way to find whether or not you are CMV negative is to go and donate, and they can tell you.  Whether or not you are CMV negative, it would still help Lydia for you to donate platelets, as most adult patients who need platelets, and some children, can recieve CMV positive platelets.  The more platelets they have available at a given time, the more likely Lydia will be able to get the platelets that she needs when she needs them.  Blood type is not a factor in determining which platelets she can recieve.

There are 2 companies who accept blood and platelet donations in Birmingham that we know of.  The Red Cross, which is “not for profit”, and Lifesouth.  In Birmingham, Lifesouth has 3 locations, on West Oxmoor, at Brookwood, and at Medical Center East.  There is a lady named “Ms King” who is in charge of Lydia’s case at LifeSouth,  who is supposed to keep track of donations made for her or in her name.  The Red Cross has a form with her information, however, we ask that if you go to donate specifically for Olivia at the Red Cross, that you do so only if you are CMV negative, and otherwise, just do a general platelet donation.  Donating platelets always requires an appointment unlike blood donation.  Apparrantly there is some red tape at the red cross when trying to donate platelets for a specific individual.