COOKEVILLE, TN — It’s the season of giving and the staff at Blood Assurance’s Cookeville location have decided to dip into their own pockets to help local children have a merry Christmas.

Beginning Monday, Nov. 15, for each individual who donates platelets at the W. Broad St. facility, the donor center staff will purchase a toy for disadvantaged children living in the area.

The Platelets for Christmas campaign runs through Dec. 17, with a goal of 100 platelet donors, according to Shelley Dishman, the team leader at the donor center.

“My team and I decided we want to give back and the best thing we can do to get platelet donors through the door is offer an incentive,” Dishman said. “At Christmas time, kids not being able to celebrate the holiday is a real thing. Being able to do this means everything to us and I’m sure it will mean the same to the donors”

The donor center staff are working with representatives from L.B.J.&C. Head Start in Cookeville on a plan to distribute the gifts.

“I love what our passionate team in Cookeville is doing,” said Dr. Ted Kieffer, the medical director at Blood Assurance. “Platelets are unique because of their short shelf life. We need those collections regularly and through this campaign we are optimistic that our hospitals’ Christmas stockings will be filled with platelets this year.”

Platelets are an irregular, disc-shaped element in the blood that assists in blood clotting. People with certain blood disorders may not be able to produce healthy platelets on their own. Platelets are needed by patients who experience trauma, bleeding during surgery, patients with aplastic anemia, transplant recipients, patients with leukemia and patients receiving treatment for cancer. 

To be eligible to donate, you must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids and eat a hearty meal prior to donating.

To schedule an appointment at the Cookeville facility, call (931) 526-3462 or visit bloodassurance.org/schedule

Blood Assurance is a nonprofit, full-service regional blood center serving more than 70 health care facilities in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky and North Carolina. Founded in 1972 as a joint effort of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society, the Chattanooga Area Hospital Council and the Chattanooga Jaycees, the mission of Blood Assurance is to provide a safe and adequate supply of blood and blood components to every area patient in need.