Randy Pieterse, a 67-year-old plasma donor, celebrated his 50th donation at the N1 City blood donation clinic on Tuesday August 29, a milestone the Western Cape Blood Service hopes will be an inspiration to many others.
The Goodwood Harriers runner says this is his third year donating plasma and he has no plans to stop.
“I was a blood donor but wanted to give more and the Western Province Blood Transfusion Service suggested plasma, if I fit the profile. Further checks by them found me perfect for plasma donation and I jumped to it… best decision ever,” Mr Pieterse said.
Plasma is the liquid part of blood that carries different proteins, such as clotting factors and antibodies. About half of blood is plasma and it is golden in colour, says Western Cape Blood Service spokesperson Marike Carli.
The proteins in plasma have many important functions in the blood such as maintaining blood volume, preventing excessive bleeding and fighting infection.
“Randy Pieterse is one of our golden plasma heroes. He donates plasma regularly at our N1 City blood donation clinic and recently reached his 50th milestone donation. We hope that his milestone will encourage others to donate blood or plasma. Congratulations, Randy, you are golden,” Ms Carli said.
In order to be eligible to donate plasma, which you can do every two weeks, you must be between the age of 18 to 65 and weigh at least 55kg. You need to have easily accessible veins and be healthy on the day of donation with a haemoglobin level of between 12 to 16g/dl.
“Patients need plasma products for a wide range of medical and surgical conditions such as major bleeding, burns, haemophilia and other clotting abnormalities,” Ms Carli said.
“Plasma is also made into antibody concentrates to give to patients who cannot fight off infection because of immune system problems, genetic disorders or chemotherapy use.”
Mr Pieterse’s advice to anyone wanting to donate whole blood or plasma is “Just do it.”