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National Blood Donor Month: January 7, 2011

Two: the number of seconds that pass before someone in the U.S. needs blood. Thirty: the number of minutes it takes an average American to donate that much needed blood, from registration to finish.

For Perry Bedient, the magical number is 24. That's roughly how many times he donates each year but he doesn't just donate blood, he donates his platelets. "I make time! It's important to someone; to save someone's life."

Platelets are blood cells that help the body's healing process. Cancer patients, those receiving organ or bone marrow transplants, open heart patients and trauma victims often require platelet transfusions to survive.

"When I found out platelets aid cancer patients that are going through chemo, I had been a blood donor for a long time, but the fact that my mother and mother-in-law both had breast cancer and went through treatments made me think is something I could do," says Bedient.

Every two weeks, he takes the time to donate his platelets which are gathered through this special machine. The process is a bit longer than the average blood donation, but he says it's time well spent. "At least come in and donate whole blood and find out whether you are a candidate or not. There's definitely a need for whole blood all the time too."

Because platelets must be used within five days, the Blood Center is always looking for donors. To learn more, you can call 239-334-5333.