Our Patients. Their Stories. Scott Brandon
Having lost my parents to cancer three years apart, I wish I had known that something as simple donating my platelets could have made a small, but important difference. I could have begun donating years ago.Scott Brandon
For many years now I’ve had a sense that I wanted to give back to the community in some fashion, but my work schedule hasn’t really ever allowed me the time or the energy to volunteer. In 2013, I decided to take part in a blood drive at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, where I work in Information Services, but after experiencing side effects after two blood donations, I decided to stop. Both times I had felt light headed and sick to my stomach after donating.
In December of 2014, my niece was diagnosed with leukemia. As part of her treatment, she received regular platelet transfusions to offset the side effects of the medications. I didn’t know about platelet donations, and the benefit they had on cancer treatment. I really didn't know anything about what platelets do. When I understood how my donation of platelets could help patients like my niece, I jumped at the chance to donate, and have been giving platelets every two weeks since. Having lost my parents to cancer just three years apart, I wish I had known that something as simple as donating my platelets could have made a small, but important difference. I could have begun donating years ago. Platelet donation is much more forgiving for me than giving blood. I experience very manageable short-term side effects, such as a slight tingling sensation in my lips, and, on occasion, mild muscle cramping. The Blood Donor Program provides calcium chews to minimize the effects, which, for me, usually end before my donation of platelets is complete.
I feel fortunate that my supervisor is very flexible in allowing me time to do my platelet donations. In fact, she seems pleased that I’m donating, and often share stories about her donations.
I wish more people knew that there are options when it comes to donating blood. When most people think about donating blood, they only think of whole blood. They don’t realize there are more options. Every donation holds great value for patients like my niece.
Editor’s Note: By policy, Dartmouth-Hitchcock allows any employee to donate blood or platelets during work hours. Learn more about our Blood Donor Program.