“A social worker who was working with Parel’s Tata Memorial Hospital once told me that cancer patients find it that much more difficult to locate platelet donors as compared to blood donors.
Also, they end up spending way more money on getting platelets,” admitted Khushrao Poacha, who as of today has over 20,000 blood donors listed on his website, Indianblooddonors.com. This realisation inspired him to start Plateletdonors.org, an SMS helpline service, that connects platelet donors to patients who need platelets. The service, which started about two weeks ago, has about a 100 registered donors, already.
“Platelets have a shelf-life of only five days. That is the reason why they are not collected and stored. When a patient needs platelets the family members have to run from pillar to post trying to find a donor,” reveals Poacha.
He adds that since most people do not have much knowledge about platelet donation, many, including willing blood donors, are hesitant to donate it.
Some of the reasons for the scepticism include a lack of knowledge and the fact that the time taken for platelet donation is higher — about an hour and a half to two hours. But this new forum, he feels, should help encourage many more people to register as platelet donors. “The best part is that regeneration of platelets happens quite fast, and healthy donors can donate platelets up to 24 times in a year,” he adds.