When Steve Baluyot first started donating platelets in 1991, he was in the Navy stationed at Portsmouth Naval Hospital in Virginia. Now, as a medical technologist in AAMC’s blood bank, Steve prepares donated units of blood and blood components for patients who need it.
“I give platelets every two months—more often if we’re really low,” Steve says.
Platelets are small cells in the blood that help control bleeding. They are a lifeline for many, especially cancer and leukemia patients. Platelet donation is similar to whole blood donation except it involves apheresis, a specialized process that extracts only platelets from the blood. The whole process takes about two hours.
Because of patient confidentiality, Steve never knows who is getting his platelets. But due to his role in the blood bank, he is acutely aware of when the supply is low and a patient may be in critical need of a platelet transfusion.
Is it worth the time commitment? “Absolutely,” says the Arnold resident, who is married and has three teenage sons. “I do it because I see the direct impact I’m having. I know I am really helping someone.”