EAST TEXAS (KYTX) - Carter Blood Care rolled up and unveiled it's new platelet donor bus at the Trinity Mother Frances Lewis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital.
Platelets help blood clot and thicken - and the donations are needed at hospitals across East Texas to keep patients healthy.
After the new Carter Blood Care platelet bus pulled up - a familiar face walked out.
"I called my son and said well your momma not only got thrown under the bus, she got thrown on the bus and it's a great honor," Blenda McNatt said.
Mcnatt of Mount Pleasant is a regular platelet donor - and was selected to be a face for the bus after donating platelets to help her marine son, Jonathan.
"I began giving platelets when my son was overseas and he lost some men and I was trying to figure out a way that I could help him, support him," McNatt said.
Now Blenda donates every two months - and says she'd happily give on one of these three beds if the bus pulled up in her town.
"I think that will make it much easier for platelet donors to give," she said.
Thirteen-hundred platelet donations were used at Trinity Mother Frances last year alone - thirty percent for heart surgery.
"As a caridac surgeon we use blood products very frequently. A lot of our operations are quite complicated and can involve bleeding," Surgeon James Caccitolo said.
Caccitolo says the need for platelets has jumped 110-percent over the past eight years.
"Anything we can do to increase the donation helps us help our patients," he said.
"The wonderful thing is we can get 12 to 16 times more platelet quantity from this bus," Linda Goelzer said.
Goelzer with Carter Blood care says one platelet donation can help 12 people - and the new bus allows everyone in the community to help others.
"It's an extraordinary thing that an ordinary person can do to help save lives just by giving blood," Goelzer said.
Blenda couldn't agree more - and says if she can do it - anyone can.
"It doesn't cost you anything. It's just a little bit of your time."
This is the first and only platelet donor bus in East Texas.
Carter Blood Care says they don't plan to add anymore to the fleet right now, but hope this bus encourages everyone in East Texas to give.
Platelet donation typically takes about two hours.
The blood donation is filtered, and after the platelets are taken out - the blood is re-routed back into your body.
Blood platelets are used in heart operations, the e-r, trauma surgeries, and cancer patients - so definitely a big need to give.