bloodIt's reasonable to consider Edward Budman, P.M., and Chairman of the Masonic Blood Donor Club Committee of Pennsylvania Meridian Sun Lodge No. 2, Philadelphia, to be an expert on giving blood. He has contributed more than 250 times, donating more than 32 gallons of the life-saving fluid.

Through a technique known as "Pheresis," Bro. Budman has been donating blood ­ specifically platelets -- much more frequently than is allowed by contributing by the well-known "whole blood" collection. In addition, one contribution by the Pheresis technique will yield as many platelets as would five whole blood donations.

Pheresis (pronounced fur-ee-sis) comes from a Greek word meaning to take away or to separate. In the case of blood, it is separating red cells, platelets, and plasma. Bro. Budman explains that in the Pheresis process, blood is drawn from one arm, routed through a sophisticated, computerized machine that separates plasma, platelets, and white cells. The red cells, which are not collected, are returned to the donor's other arm.

Since the Pheresis process does not interfere with one's ability to contribute whole blood regularly, Bro. Budman also continues his schedule of donating blood that way. With whole blood collection, a person may donate every 56 days, or about six times a year. With Pheresis, a donor, if recruited, may contribute as frequently as every three days, up to a maximum of 24 times a year. After donating whole blood, only a one week wait is required before donating by Pheresis.

Donating blood by the Pheresis process takes one-and-a-half to two-and-three-quarters hours, during which time the donor can relax, watch a movie or listen to music. Start by calling 1 (800) 448-3543 or your local blood center for information and directions.

Speaking on behalf of the Grand Lodge Masonic Blood Donor Club and the Committee of his lodge, Bro. Budman said, "It is our job to educate the brethren about this life-saving procedure and urge them to donate as much as they can." You can find information about Pheresis under the Blood­Organ Donors link on the Grand Lodge web site, <>.