Western Iowa man marks 250th platelet donation in Omaha | Health and Fitness

Western Iowa man marks 250th platelet donation in Omaha | Health and Fitness

Platelets most often are given to cancer patients, but also can be used in transplant patients or individuals who face life-threatening injuries or require major surgeries.

Platelet donations can keep for only about five days, so it’s important to have regular donors such as Klein, McNaughton-Cox said. Requests for platelets are filled first in Nebraska and Iowa. Once those needs are filled, she said, platelets can be shipped anywhere in the country.

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McNaughton-Cox, whose husband is a cancer survivor who required platelets, said Klein has been donating for the nearly seven years she has been at the northwest Omaha Red Cross location. Employees at the facility get excited when they see Klein walk through the doors. They usually rush to be the one to grab Klein’s chart and get him set up.

“He’s happy to be here, and this is important to him, which is really inspiring,” McNaughton-Cox said.

Before he donated platelets, Klein was a regular blood donor. He started donating around the time he was drafted into the Army Reserves in the mid-1950s. He took a brief break from donating after he got married.

In all, he has donated 88 pints of whole blood. The last time he donated blood, a nurse suggested platelet donation because of Klein’s high platelet count.

Klein said his relatives, including his five children, have encouraged his donations over the years. And he has been inspired by friends who have had cancer and needed platelets.

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