Ahead of the long Memorial Day weekend, United Blood Services is urging area residents to donate platelets in order to help boost a low supplies and meet the transfusion needs of patients during the upcoming holiday.

Platelets are a special component of blood that helps control bleeding. The fact that they have a shelf life of only five days makes it extremely important to continuously replenish the supply. Currently, platelet usage by hospital patients is slightly higher than average while in some areas it is considerably higher, according to UBS.

“Right now, we’re seeing an increase in the number of platelets needed by patients,” United Blood Services Senior Director of Donor Recruitment Charlie Propernick said. “We work hard to efficiently manage the community blood supply, but it can be challenging at times to predict which components may be needed more than others on any given day or week.”

From United Blood Services:

"United Blood Services is part of the Blood Systems network of regional and community blood centers. This network is leveraged to assure enough blood is available where it’s needed most. Part of this resource sharing includes transferring platelets and other blood components from one area with a lesser need to another area with a greater need. Donors can be as young as 16 (16 and 17-year-olds need a signed parental consent form). To be eligible, donors must weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good health."

United Blood Services’ Casper community donor center at 2801 E. 2nd Street is open every day but Tuesday and will also be open 8:00am through1:00pm on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28th. The Cheyenne donor center at 112 E. 8th Avenue will be closed for the holiday but is open Tuesday through Saturday.

To make an appointment you can call (307) 638-3326 or visit unitedbloodservices.org. Walk-ins are also welcome. USB says donors can save about 20 minutes during their donation visit by completing their Fast Track Health History Questionnaire ahead of time the day they donate.