• NEIA Red Cross

Platelets add vital punches in the battle to knock out cancer

By Tiffany Crouse


Every two weeks Amberley Proctor RN, BSN makes a life-saving platelet donation. Amberley is a Clinical Research Nurse Coordinator at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, working with oncology patients battling hematologic malignancies. Hematologic malignancies are cancers that affect the blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes. It includes various types of leukemia (acute lymphocytic (ALL), chronic lymphocytic (CLL), acute myeloid (AML), chronic myeloid (CML)), myeloma, and lymphoma (Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's (NHL)). Amberley donates for professional and personal reasons.


Her donation story started with heartbreak. “I was devastated when a patient I was particularly close to passed away after fighting so hard,” she said. “I felt horrible, wishing I could do more for him. I had thought about donating platelets.”


Amberley grew to love the process so much, she now signs up every two weeks to donate. Platelets are tiny cells in your blood that form clots and stop bleeding. For millions of Americans, they are essential in fighting and surviving cancers, chronic diseases, and traumatic injuries. Platelets must be transfused within five days of donation and, therefore, cannot be stockpiled. Proctor said, “I have become an advocate for these life-saving donations and encourage all of my friends and family to donate when they can.”


The Red Cross currently has an emergency need for platelet as hospital demand for these blood products continues to outpace donations. Becoming a regular platelet donor is one way for you to be a hero. Every 15 seconds a donation of platelets is needed. Making a platelet donation takes about 3 hours.


Proctor said, “I might not be able to help my patients completely knock out cancer, but I can help with a few punches!”


To make a life-saving donation please visit redcrossblood.org and learn how you can be a hero.

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