Masonic Blood Donor Club Does More Than Take Whole Blood...Help Out Now

bodAsk members about the Masonic Blood Donor Club and most likely they will tell you that it deals with whole blood . . . that it is easy to become a member by donating a unit of whole blood or by getting someone in your family to donate for you.

That's true, but there is much more. Our Masonic Blood Donor Club reaches out to every part of Pennsylvania and works with The American Red Cross and certified community blood banks throughout the Commonwealth. The Club does not limit its efforts to collecting whole blood, but it includes bone marrow and organ donor programs and pheresis, and granulocyte collections. Pheresis and granulocyte are real lifesavers, because persons needing them are usually very sick and undergoing complicated medical treatments for life-threatening illnesses.

Pheresis is the ability to donate platelets, white cells, or plasma specifically without donating whole blood. The parts of the blood which are not needed are returned to the donor's body,which allows a person to donate five to six times the number of platelets he or she would give normally during a whole blood donation.

Those platelets are a lifeline for cancer patients whose chemotherapy prevents platelet production in their own bodies, or where malignant cells have invaded the bone marrow. They are also used for cardiopulmonary bypass patients, stem cell transplant patients, and for burn and trauma patients who receive massive transfusions.

A pheresis donation counts just like a whole blood donation for membership in the Masonic Blood Donor Club. You can get membership for yourself, or for another member of your Lodge, by a pheresis donation. Additionally, the traditional 56-day wait between whole blood donations is reduced to just seven days for pheresis. Your body usually replaces everything that you donate within 24 hours.

Granulocyte collection is a more specific kind of pheresis donation. It allows granulocytes (a kind of white cell) to be donated to help bone marrow transplant patients fight off infections. During a patient's bone marrow treatment, the body cannot fight infection by itself. Granulocytes from a donor allow their body to fight infections until the patient's body is able to do the job itself.

Pheresis donors report that they feel just like they do during a whole blood donation. The donation time is longer (about 11/2 hours), during which movies are normally shown. Doctors and hospitals are experiencing an ever-increasing need for more donors for pheresis.

If you are interested, please contact the Masonic Blood Donor Club at the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, One North Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19107-2598. Whether you are a first-time donor or a long-time donor, please respond now. Donations are needed from many more Brethren and their families.