Specialty Donor Programs

As our community continues to grow, so do acute healthcare needs in our 22 area hospitals. The need for specialty blood products is greater than ever as advances in medicine allow us to better treat patients. As a blood donor, you may qualify to participate in one of our Specialty Donor Programs helping serve the blood needs of area children, cancer, cardiovascular, trauma or transplant, patients, among others. We want to help you choose the program and donation type that is right for you!

So that you can understand more about how your blood may be used and also what the best type of donation would be based on your blood type, we've provided some information below on our Specialty Donor Programs. If you have any additional questions or are interested in joining a program, please contact Theresa Anzelone, Manager Specialty Donor Programs, at 704-972-4729. As always, thanks for being a community blood donor!

Whole Blood Specialty Donor

Donors are needed to participate in Specialty Donor Programs as a whole blood donor to support our Babies & Kids and O Donor Programs.

Babies & Kids Program

Donors of all blood types who are CMV negative are needed for the Babies and Kids Program. CMV (cytomegalovirus) is a common flu-like virus that is harmless to most of us, but may be dangerous to an infant whose immune system is not fully developed or to any patient with a compromised immune system. CMV negative means that you do not carry the CMV antibody. Levine Children's Hospital alone requires 300 CMV negative red blood cells and 200 CMV negative platelets each month.

O Program

Donors who are either O+ or O- are needed to donate as often as possible because O blood represents the largest population by percentage. Since it is the most common blood group it is naturally the most frequently used. Because it carries no A or B antigen, it may also be transfused to patients of other blood groups; the O- blood type being the universal donor. Donors who have O type blood can participate in the O Program to help ensure the availability of this blood product on an on-going basis.

 Participating in Specialty Donor Programs as a whole blood donor is easy! We simply ask you to commit to donating a minimum of three to four times per year. A donor education specialist will help to keep you on track, schedule appointments as needed and identify locations to donate in your community.

Platelet Program

Platelets aid in the clotting process and are used to treat cancer, transplant and cardiovascular patients. The platelet (apheresis) process is an automated collection process that can only be performed in one of our donor centers as it requires a slightly longer time commitment and different process than whole blood. To learn more about the apheresis donation process, click here. These products have only a 5 day shelf life so we need the support of local donors on a consistent basis to ensure there is fresh product available every day for the patients of our community. Platelet donors can give every 14 days, as many as 24 times in one year! The need for platelets is far greater than you may expect. In fact, nearly 800 platelet products are needed each month to support local patients.

Donors who are A+, B+ or AB+ are especially encouraged to donate platelets; particularly those with CMV negative blood. A+ and B+ donors are asked because their platelets are compatible with nearly 80% of the population. Donors who are AB+ and CMV negative are needed to donate platelets because their blood can be used in the treatment of premature and newborn babies. This supports the development of their lungs until they can breathe on their own. Ideally, we need at least five donations of this type available every day. To learn more about how local AB+ platelet donors helped to save baby William, read his story.

Sickle Cell Program

African-American donors are needed to help local Sickle Cell patients. Sickle Cell is a disorder that causes red blood cells to form an abnormal crescent shape that does not easily move through blood vessels and can cause severe pain, tissue damage, serious infections and even stroke. Research shows the majority of people with Sickle Cell will require a blood transfusion in their lifetime for treatment. The most suitable donor for patients being treated for sickle cell is someone of their own ethnicity, and 98% of individuals in the U.S. with Sickle Cell are African-American. CBCC is working to create a registry of African-American donors whose blood type and traits are matched with a local Sickle Cell patient. In order to do this, we need more African-American blood donors.

Get with the Program

Contact Theresa Anzelone at 704-972-4729 or tanzelone@cbcc.us to find out how your blood type can be most effectively used in our community.