Cedars-Sinai Blood Donor Services is awarding a lifetime achievement award to a man who has donated 200 platelets over the last 30 years. Actor Haskell Anderson III (Kickboxer) said his biggest honor was being “able to do this for people in need.” Anderson III received the award during a celebratory dinner Wednesday June 20, at Cedars.
Anderson III said donating became “his thing,” after a Cedars-Sinai employee recruited him from a waiting room there.
“I had the time so I did it,” Anderson III recalled.
“When I was there, I saw people donating platelets and from then on, it became my thing.”
Platelets are blood cells that help control bleeding. When a blood vessel is damaged, platelets collect at the site of the injury and temporarily repair the tear. Platelets then activate substances in plasma which form a clot and allow the wound to heal. Medical facilities are in constant need of them, since they only have a shelf life of a little over a month. Significantly, patients receiving treatment for cancer often need platelet transfusions several times a week, according to medical experts.
“While donating platelets is a time-consuming activity—up to 90 minutes per donation—a single donation can help three patients,” said Cedars-Sinai personnel.
Through a process called Apheresis, platelets are separated from a donor’s blood, after which, all other blood components are given back to the donor. Only two tablespoons of platelets are collected from a whole blood donation. Six whole blood donations must be separated and pooled to provide a single platelet transfusion.
In 2013, Anderson III learned just how significant his humane act was. That year, the donor became a patient, diagnosed with a stage 1 meningioma brain tumor. He had to undergo major surgery to remove the tumor.
Anderson III was restored to good health and said that his gratitude for that drove him to do even more.
“In addition to being a lifesaving blood donor, Anderson also volunteers at A Place Called Home, a nonprofit youth center in South L.A., where he was recently named Mentor of the Year,” said Cedars-Sinai officials.
According to a spokesperson for Cedars, Anderson III has committed himself to a healthy lifestyle. He wakes up at 4:30 am daily, to coffee, then mass, then the Santa Monica stairs for a workout.
“We are grateful for Haskell’s years of service to our community and for all of the lives he has helped to save,” said Dr. Ellen Klapper, director of transfusion medicine at Cedars-Sinai.
Those interested in donating blood in general, should follow these basic rules, according to Cedars medical team: