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01 November 2018

Why Keith became a platelet donor

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Keith from Westhill, Aberdeenshire, tells us about his decision to start giving platelets.

"I gave blood for the first time years ago as I was pressured to go along by my mum, but I didn’t make a follow up appointment and I didn’t go back for some time. However at the end of December 2017, my three year old daughter Edie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL).

Edie receiving treatment in hospital
Edie receiving treatment in hospital
If you are able to give blood or platelets then you should. Donation is incredibly valuable, and I've seen first-hand the difference it brings to the people who need it. Keith Coutts

"In the early days of her treatment, Edie had to receive a blood transfusion, and the importance of giving blood became really apparent. My wife and I then decided that someone had helped our little girl with their blood and that we should do the same.

"I started going to give blood at Aberdeen Donor Centre, then one day I noticed a sign on the wall that they were looking for platelet donors. One of the helpful nurses told me that they’d rather receive my platelets than my blood, so I put myself forward. The donors had to be male, a specific blood type and have a high enough platelet count to be able to donate. Fortunately, I met all the requirements.

Keith, Edie and big sister Jessie earlier this year
Keith, Edie and big sister Jessie earlier this year

"The process for donating platelets takes quite a bit longer than giving blood, as you can be hooked up to a machine for up to an hour and a half. I take along my iPad and watch a film to pass the time. The nurses in the Centre are always incredibly friendly and attentive with countless offerings of juice, biscuits and tea. Additionally, as the blood is returned to you once the platelets have been removed, I've found there are very few side effects. 

"If you are able to give blood or platelets then you should. Donation is incredibly valuable, and I've seen first-hand the difference it brings to the people who need it."

Who can give platelets?

  • Existing blood donors (you must have given blood at least once before).
  • Blood group O or A.
  • Able to come to EdinburghGlasgow, Aberdeen or Dundee donor centre every four to six weeks.
  • Willing to spare up to 90 minutes each time they give platelets.

If you are interested in becoming a platelet donor, please contact us for more information.

Current blood stock levels across Scotland

We aim to retain 6 days of stocks at any time in order to meet the requirements of patients in Scotland.

Learn more about blood types