Platelets are one of the components required to make blood clot. They are approximately one quarter the size of red blood cells and are not, whole cells, but fragile cell fragments.
Platelets originate from giant cells called megakaryocytes, found in bone marrow. As the megakaryocyte matures, small fragments break off and are released into the blood stream. These fragments are called platelets and have a shelf life of only five days.
Patients with prolonged bleeding associated with some diseases (e.g. cancer) need large quantities of platelets as part of their treatment.
All main Canadian Blood Services donor clinics have a plateletpheresis program. Each plateletpheresis program differs from location to location. If you are interested in becoming a platelet donor, please call 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283) during regular business hours and select option "1" from the automated voice system to speak to a member of our medical staff.