Giving from the heart Bright Lights: Quiet, regular gifts by blood donors save thousands of lives.

January 03, 1998

FIFTEEN YEARS ago, Olivette Redding heard of a sick child who needed help. Although she was already a regular blood donor, this child needed blood platelets, obtained from donors through a procedure known as "platelet pheresis."

Ms. Redding volunteered -- and keeps on giving. Some 70 times over the past decade and a half, she has gone through platelet pheresis, a two-hour procedure in which blood is drawn from a needle in one arm, circulated through a machine where platelets are separated from red blood cells, and then returned to the donor through a needle in the other arm.

Modern medicine can work miracles, but many of those amazing feats depend first of all on the unselfish gifts of thousands of regular donors like Ms. Redding. Typical of many blood and platelet donors Ms. Redding makes light of her contribution, saying it's no trouble at all. She usually passes the two hours watching a video movie, she says.

But ask anyone familiar with the critical need for blood -- or ask the countless people whose lives have been saved by the generous and repeated donations of people like Olivette Redding -- and the magnitude of her contribu tion becomes clear. Blood donations can save lives. But unlike most other medical supplies, blood and blood platelets cannot be manufactured in a lab. The availability of these critical blood products depends in large part on the generosity and dedication of volunteer donors.

For their unselfish spirit and their willingness to give literally of themselves, over and over, we salute Olivette Redding and all blood donors -- all of whom are bright, life-saving lights for any community.

Pub Date: 1/03/98

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