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Giving Blood in Every State

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Al Whitney Al Whitney

Lebanon, New Hampshire - May 18, 2009

For the 27th time since August, Al Whitney has a needle inserted into his arm. This time he's at the blood clinic at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

"Last August, I was donating platelets like this, I said I can do more than this," Whitney says. "And, I came up with the idea of donating in every state. And this is my 27th state."

Unlike whole blood donations that can only happen about six times a year, donors can give platelets on a much more frequent basis and they are just as important.

"Platelets are the clotting factor in your blood and that's the part that is killed off during radiation and chemotherapy," Whitney explains.

By donating in states across the country, Whitney is trying to put a new spin on the constant call for blood donations.

"We try very hard to not say that there is a critical need, however to that patient sitting in the chemotherapy suite, or that mom who is giving birth and going through a challenging labor, or that grandmother who is having a hip replacement surgery, that need is critical," says Michelle Loveys Dozier of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

On this day, Whitney shares the room with hospital employee Brenda Gower who is also donating blood.

"This is a level one trauma center and when people get into an accident, they need blood immediately and it is really nice to know that I am helping to make that available for them," Gower says.

Statistics show that over 63 million pints of blood are needed in the United States every year. However, only about 5 percent of the population gives.

"If everyone that could donate would donate just one pint a year, we would never have a shortage," Whitney says.

After his stop here at DHMC, Whitney will be traveling to Minnesota, then New Jersey, on his quest to give a little piece of himself to all 50 states.

Click here for more about Whitney's travels.

Adam Sullivan - WCAX News

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