WATCH: See how easy it is to donate lifesaving plasma

Roach from The Lizard makes a meaningful drop-off

  • First-timers can get in and out in about 90 minutes
  • New Kelowna centre has plenty of support

Want to be a hero? Got 90 minutes to spare? How about heading down to Canada Blood Services at the Orchard Park Mall to donate a bottle of plasma?

Roach from 104.7 The Lizard had never donated before but figured the one-year anniversary of the plasma donor centre in Kelowna was as good a time as any to give it a go.

After a brief stop at reception for a temperature and pinprick hemoglobin test, staff took Roach into a screening room where he was asked about his medical history and tested for viruses.

“I’ve been told I’m the perfect specimen for this,” Roach quipped after the tests, making sure our cameraman didn’t get a close up of the reading on the weigh scale!

Then it was onto one of a number of comfy couches where he’d spend the next 45 minutes.

Staff inserted a needle and blood was drawn into a hi-tech machine’s centrifuge which separated the plasma from the red and white blood cells and platelets, which are returned. The amber-coloured plasma fills a container and is shipped off to a lab to make important medicines.

“We’re making a difference in Canadian’s lives across the country,” Janna Pantella, business development manager at Canadian Blood Services told Roach.

The large but welcoming donation room was filled with many other locals having their plasma extracted. Some show up every week.

“If you’re a man you can donate your plasma once a week; it’s every 14 days for a woman,” Pantella explained.

Patients across the country depend on plasma transfusions or medicines made from donated plasma. These specialized medicines help treat a variety of rare and genetic life-threatening conditions.

Back to Roach and his procedure, which he clearly felt was going uber smoothly.

“They say you need to give 880 milliliters of plasma to reach the max …I’m giving 840. Not bad for a first-timer,” he said.

Once that 840 ml mark had been reached the machine stopped its job and automatically fed a bag of saline solution back into Roach’s arm. That helps with hydration.

Another five minutes and it was all over, with Roach rewarded with a bag of treats, including crackers, cheese and cake.

Oh, and he’s already made an appointment for a second visit soon.

Nationally, thousands more plasma donors are needed to meet patients’ needs today and into the future — and there is plenty of room for more new donors in Kelowna. Booking an appointment to donate plasma helps save lives locally and across Canada.

Download the GiveBlood app, call 1-888-2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) or book now at blood.ca.

Published 2022-06-22 by Glenn Hicks

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