Greg Pedelty – Platelet Donor

About every six weeks, Greg Pedelty gets a phone call from Michigan Blood asking him to donate platelets for a patient in the hospital who has a specific match for his blood. The patient is platelet-dependent and because they have received so many transfusions, they have developed certain antibodies, which means they can only receive platelets from a small number of people, called HLA donors.

“It’s kind of cool you know? It’s one thing to go give blood and know it helps people somewhere, somehow,” says Greg. “But it’s not just, ‘we need blood.’ It’s very cool to be told, ‘we need YOUR blood.’”

Greg is a Software Quality Assurance Analyst for Dematic, who loves golf, tai chi, kung fu, biking, reading, and giving blood. He’s over 23 gallons now. Greg had been donating whole blood regularly for several years when he started giving platelets. After that, he received several calls asking him to donate because he was an HLA match.

“When I realized the significance,” says Greg, “I made a point to clear my calendar for it.”

The process is easy and enjoyable, according to Greg.

“The first thing I do is figure out the earliest time I can come in that meets what they need, which sometimes means rescheduling my evenings. I’ve donated long enough most of the people recognize me now,” he says.

The next steps? “Make yourself comfortable, read a book, and go get some cookies. In an odd way it’s fun.”

Although it’s nice to know someone is counting on him, Greg knows he would donate no matter what.

“If they call and say we need you, I come in,” he says. “It doesn’t matter who it’s for. I’m donating just because, to sound overly noble, it’s my civic responsibility. I make this for free and I should give it away.”

It’s part the sense of responsibility and part his personal goal-setting that keeps Greg coming back to donate. Greg set several goals for himself regarding blood donation, including giving his own weight in blood. He has 3.5 gallons left to go. Recently, he’s come up with another goal.

“They have the brochure with the top donors,” says Greg. “I’m thinking getting my name on the top ten list would be pretty cool.”