Face of Defense: Army Private Donates Blood Platelets
By Erin Longacre
Armed Services Blood Program
FORT GORDON, Ga., Jul. 11, 2013 In order to donate a gallon of platelets to the Armed Services Blood Program, a donor would have to complete eight donations requiring a total of 16 hours of a donor’s time.
Army Pfc. Antony Redmon of Company C, 447th Signal Battalion, completes his eighth platelet donation for the Armed Services Blood Program at Fort Gordon in Georgia. Redmon has donated more than a gallon of platelets to the program in just over three months. U.S. Army photo by Erin Longacre
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Most blood donor center personnel here would agree that platelet donors are a special segment of the donor population because of their level of commitment.
Meet Army Pfc. Antony Redmon.
When Redmon discovered he had a high platelet count, he made a commitment to donating at the Kendrick Memorial Blood Center, part of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, as much as he could during his few months of training here.
Having never donated platelets or even blood before, Redmon had what he described as a “moderate phobia of needles” and wanted to get over it, which he did in a big way.
In just three months, Redmon has donated more than a gallon of platelets by completing eight platelet donations, most of which were double units because of his excellent platelet supply. Platelets work to control bleeding, and are most often needed by patients with severe injury, surgeries or certain cancers.
The process of donating, known as apheresis, is a specialized procedure in which the donor’s blood is drawn and cycled through a machine that separates the platelets from the other components of the blood, and returns red blood cells to the donor through the same site. Depending on a donor’s height, weight and blood cell counts, the process usually takes an hour or more.
Only a handful of apheresis donors who are soldiers in training at Fort Gordon reach the gallon level each year. The apheresis collection team at the blood center said they’ll be sad to see Redmon depart.
Redmon, an information technology specialist about to complete his Advanced Individual Training, has only a short time left at Fort Gordon before heading to Arizona State University’s ROTC program. After obtaining his commission, he plans to come back to Fort Gordon to return to the Signal Corps. He also plans to continue donating blood, and says he’s fascinated by the process of platelet donation and transfusion.
“I like the science behind it, and that [my platelets] are there in the operating room when someone needs them,” Redmon said.
“Redmon is so dedicated,” said Mechele Davis, the lead apheresis technician at the Kendrick Memorial Blood Center. “When we have an emergency and need platelets, we know we can call him, and he always responds.”