Donating Platelets: A Practical Guide to a Critical Contribution

Donating Platelets: A Practical Guide to a Critical Contribution

donating platelets

Donating Platelets: A Practical Guide to a Critical Contribution

Blood consists of several components, each with a distinct and potentially lifesaving role. Platelets are a blood component that plays a critical role in supporting life, especially for surgery patients, transplant recipients, and anyone undergoing treatment for cancer or leukemia. 

Despite platelets’ distinct properties, the qualifications for donating platelets are similar to those for donating whole blood. One of the benefits of this process is that it makes it easier for someone to donate more frequently than traditional blood donations. The platelet donation process takes longer than traditional blood donations but enables more platelets to be collected each visit.

We can’t overstate the impact of platelet donations. And because of the constant need for this critical blood product, a steady pool of donors is all the more important.

What Makes Platelets Unique? 

Platelets are tiny cells in your blood that are responsible for forming clots and stopping bleeding. They are essential to those who have cancer, chronic diseases, and traumatic injuries. A significant side effect of cancer treatment is a lowered platelet count, putting patients at risk of life-threatening bleeding. Platelet transfusions help patients’ blood clot properly, enabling them to continue undergoing treatment.

Those suffering from blood disorders can also benefit from platelet transfusions. Blood disorders and other chronic conditions can lead to low platelet counts, making platelet transfusions essential to maintaining the blood’s ability to clot. Similarly, patients undergoing major surgeries or recovering from serious injuries may require platelet transfusions to replace those lost due to extensive bleeding. 

The Need for Platelets

Approximately 2 million units of platelets are transfused each year in the U.S. This breaks down to someone needing platelets every 15 seconds. The need is only intensified by the fact that platelets must be used within five days of their donation. Platelets’ short shelf life means the need for donations is constant. Without a consistent pool of donors, the national platelet supply will dwindle, and patients won’t be able to receive the lifesaving treatment they need.

Emergency situations can cause sudden surges in demand. So, not only does there need to be enough supply to meet ongoing needs, but there also needs to be enough to treat patients with unexpected needs and critical situations.

Because platelet donation is a more specialized process, fewer people are aware of the need, creating a smaller pool of donors. Increasing awareness about the purpose of and need for platelet donations is essential to maintaining a sufficient supply for patients in need.

How Platelet Donation Works

Platelets are collected through a process known as apheresis, during which a cell-separating machine withdraws the platelets and returns the remaining blood cells and plasma to the donor. This process allows a single donor to provide a large quantity of platelets. For comparison, it can take 12 to 18 whole blood donations to provide the equivalent of a single platelet donation.

Here’s how the platelet collection process works: A small amount of blood is drawn from a donor’s arm and goes into the blood cell separator. The blood is rapidly spun to separate the plasma from the other blood components. The plasma cells then go into a sterile plastic bag, and the rest of the blood — your plasma, red blood cells, and white blood cells — is returned. This cycle repeats until several transfusable platelet units are collected. The amount collected could provide up to three platelet transfusions. 

Donating platelets takes about 2.5 hours, but many donors see this time as a chance to unwind from daily stress. Plus, they get the peace of mind that their donation is helping save lives. While platelet donations take longer than whole blood donations, they offer some unique benefits. Since you get your fluids and red blood cells back after donating platelets, you may feel less sluggish when you’re finished. Also, platelet donations use a smaller needle than blood donations, which some donors find to be more comfortable.

Donors can give platelets at one of our blood donation centers every seven days. You must be 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and feel healthy to donate. To prepare for your donation, stay hydrated and eat a healthy meal on the day of your appointment.

At The Blood Connection, we offer a Platelet Plus rewards system that rewards donors based on the number of donations they make in a year. You’ll receive a specific dollar amount per donation for each donor level, and your rewards status can be viewed in your Donor Portal.

Platelet donors play a crucial role in saving lives every day. Platelets’ short shelf life and constant need for platelet transfusions make having a steady supply of donors a must. If you’re considering becoming a platelet donor, we’d encourage you to make an appointment at The Blood Connection today. Your donation matters, and we are grateful for each and every person who decides to give their time — and platelets — to help those in need.

Stories of Lives Transformed by Blood Donation

Stories of Lives Transformed by Blood Donation

how many lives does blood donation save

Stories of Lives Transformed by Blood Donation

Few people ever anticipate needing blood transfusions, yet it’s a reality that many face every day. Thanks to the generosity of donors, countless recipients have received blood transfusions that helped them survive life-threatening challenges and situations. 

The sacrifices made to supply those transfusions do not go unnoticed by recipients or their families. Many gain a new perspective and appreciation for life. Some even go on to become donors. Regardless of their response, it’s undeniable that their lives have been deeply touched and changed by the kindness of strangers. 

Every blood recipient has a unique journey. We are honored to share their stories.

An Unexpected Need

Many mothers have a smooth pregnancy, only to end up in the emergency room due to childbirth complications. Kay was one of those mothers. When she was 20 years old, she went in to have a Cesarean section, during which her heart stopped. She was in the operating room for over an hour and received four pints of blood. That blood, along with the heroic work of the doctors and nurses, saved her life.

Today, Kay is a regular blood donor. She’s been donating since 1979, hoping to make the same impact on others that four random strangers made in her life all those years ago. She knows that by giving just one donation, she can save up to three lives.

When asked what she would say to the donors who saved her life, Kay shared the simple but powerful message, “Thank you so much for loving someone enough to give.”

A Fight With Cancer

Jeff’s story looks a little different. Over 20 years ago, he was diagnosed with a tumor in his colon. He received a transfusion for the first time during surgery to remove the cancer. That lifesaving medical intervention saved his life and allowed him to go on and build a family.

Then, right before the start of the pandemic, Jeff found out he had another tumor in his pelvis. He immediately began aggressive chemotherapy, with each treatment requiring another blood transfusion. Jeff’s condition eventually required the amputation of his right leg, and that operation required even more transfusions.

Throughout Jeff’s journey with cancer, he’s experienced the lifesaving impact blood transfusions can have time and time again. He knows that if it weren’t for the generosity of donors, he would not be living the life he is today. When thanking his donors, Jeff said he’s grateful that “My wife can have a husband, and my kids can have a father.”

An Ongoing Battle

When Shantrell was a child, he was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia, a hereditary disease that has no cure. Defined by sickle-shaped blood cells that clog blood vessels, this blood disorder calls for regular blood transfusions.

Shantrell’s diagnosis affects his day-to-day life. Even if he doesn’t look like it, he experiences frequent pain. He’s also never been able to play sports due to difficulty catching his breath.

Shantrell needs eight people to donate every three weeks to get the transfusions he needs to live comfortably. With the help of The Blood Connection and our donors, he’s been able to get just that.

“The Blood Connection helps me live a better life,” shared Shantrell. His regular transfusions have allowed him to enjoy playing outside with his kids and being truly present with his family.

When asked what he would say to potential donors, he said, “Don’t be afraid. Just think of all the people you’re helping. Blood is something you can give freely.”

Kay, Jeff, and Shantrell have all gone through their own journeys with blood transfusions. But despite the differences in their stories, they’ve all come to the same conclusion that the generosity of strangers is what kept them alive and well. 

If you’re eligible to donate, we encourage you to book an appointment or stop by one of our donation centers today. Your generosity matters and could make a lasting impact on the lives of those in your community. 

Blood Donation Myths Busted: Separating Fact from Fiction

Blood Donation Myths Busted: Separating Fact from Fiction

blood donation facts and myths

Blood Donation Myths Busted: Separating Fact from Fiction

Donating blood is a generous act that saves countless lives each day. But despite its life-saving impact, blood donation is surrounded by numerous myths that keep far too many potential donors from donating. As a result, these misconceptions can have devastating implications for the national blood supply, reducing available blood products and keeping patients from getting the transfusions they desperately need. 

It’s important to separate fact from fiction to dispel people’s apprehensions about donating. By sharing the truth about blood donation, we seek to empower people with accurate information so they can make a properly informed decision about whether or not to give blood. When you come to The Blood Connection, we aim to equip you with the facts and information you need to donate without hesitation and feel confident in your decision. 

7 Common Misconceptions About Blood Donations

1). Myth: It takes a long time to donate.

Fact: Blood donation is an efficient process that only takes about an hour from start to finish. When you walk into a donation center, you’ll complete a brief mini-physical before donating to confirm your eligibility. The actual donation only takes about 10 minutes. Once your donation is complete, you’ll be asked to stay at the center for a few minutes for monitoring. You can enjoy a beverage and snack while you wait and then be on your way.

2). Myth: Donating blood hurts.

Fact: The discomfort you’ll feel when donating is very minimal. There will be a slight pinch when the needle goes in, but you shouldn’t feel a thing after that. The Blood Connection’s skilled team will ensure you have a comfortable experience from start to finish.

3). Myth: If you don’t have a rare blood type, your donation isn’t needed.

Fact: Your donation is valuable regardless of your blood type. Common blood types are needed by more people, meaning more donations are required to maintain a steady supply. And for rare types, there’s a smaller pool of donors. Long story short, your single donation — no matter your blood type — can save up to three lives, and that’s worth doing.

4). Myth: You can’t donate if you’re on medication.

Fact: Most medications don’t disqualify you as a donor. More often, the medical condition that warrants the medication is the factor that impacts your eligibility. Of course, certain medicines, including anticoagulants, antiplatelet drugs, and some acne treatments, may render you ineligible to donate. If you’re unsure how your medication impacts your ability to donate, talk to a team member at your local donation center.

5). Myth: Donating will deplete your own blood supply.

Fact: The average adult human body contains about 10 pints of blood. When you donate blood, only one of those pints is collected, leaving plenty for you to resume your day as usual. Your plasma levels can return to normal in as little as 24 hours. Red blood cells take about four to six weeks to completely replenish, which is why you can donate every 56 days. Ultimately, donating blood will not deplete your own blood supply in the long term due to the human body’s ability to quickly regenerate blood cells.

6). Myth: Donating blood can make you sick.

Fact: If you’re healthy when you walk into your donation center, you’ll walk out the same way. Our donation centers follow strict protocols to keep the equipment sterile, and we work hard to make sure the donation process is safe for every donor. Of course, it’s possible to experience lightheadedness or mild fatigue immediately after donating, but you’ll be provided a snack and drink to help ease those symptoms. In most instances, these symptoms pass quickly and on their own.

7). Myth: There are plenty of donors already.

Fact: Someone needs blood in the U.S. every two seconds, meaning there is always a need for more blood. On top of the constant need, blood has a limited shelf life, making maintaining an adequate supply even more challenging. A steady national blood supply helps meet both anticipated and unanticipated demand. Seasonal fluctuations and emergencies can cause shortages, making it difficult for people to get the lifesaving resources they need. A consistent group of regular donors ensures a reliable blood supply that can support emergency surgeries and ongoing treatments.

Every donation matters, whether you give once or become a regular donor. Our priority is to keep you informed and comfortable throughout the entire donation process so that you can walk into our donation centers feeling confident about your life-saving decision. 

Maintaining Blood Donor Health: Tips for Optimal Well-Being

Maintaining Blood Donor Health: Tips for Optimal Well-Being


Maintaining Blood Donor Health: Tips for Optimal Well-Being

Being a blood donor is a selfless act that makes a lifelong difference. Every one of your donations has the potential to save up to three lives. But despite the profound impact donating blood can make for others, it’s important to consider your health and wellness as a donor as well. 

Whether you’re a regular donor or thinking about donating for the first time, taking care of yourself is essential not only for your well-being but also for the effectiveness of your contribution. Before you donate, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure your gift doesn’t negatively affect your health.

The Importance of Blood Donor Health

If you’re in good health when you show up to give blood, you’re more likely to have a smooth donation process and make a contribution that maintains a safe and reliable blood supply. A healthy national blood supply helps those needing a transfusion experience the benefits of donated blood without fear of adverse effects. 

To ensure you’re healthy when you donate, we start each visit by conducting a mini-physical that measures your blood pressure, hemoglobin, and pulse. Your blood pressure should be below 180/100 at the time of donation. If you struggle with high blood pressure, don’t worry. You can still be eligible to donate even if you take blood pressure medication.

Hemoglobin is important because it’s the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. Low iron levels can contribute to low hemoglobin levels, making maintaining healthy iron levels essential. Your body also needs iron to generate new blood cells to replace the ones lost through donation. By checking your hemoglobin when you arrive, we’re making sure that your body is ready to donate and your blood is healthy enough to benefit potential recipients. 

4 Ways To Ensure a Successful Donation

As a donor, you should be looking after your health — not just to give a successful donation but to increase the overall quality of your life. At The Blood Connection, we value our donors’ well-being. We don’t just see you as a means to collect donations. Your health matters to us whether you donate or not. With clear benefits for you and those you may help, let’s look at the top four ways to make your donation smooth and easy. 

1). Eat a balanced diet.

A balanced diet promotes your overall health, helping you get more out of each day. Focus on a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Ensure you eat plenty of iron-rich foods, such as spinach, beans, red meat, poultry, and fortified cereals to help keep your iron and hemoglobin levels up. Vitamin C-rich foods like oranges and bell peppers can help enhance iron absorption. Prior to any donation appointment, do your best to steer clear of iron blockers, such as coffee, tea, and chocolate, as these foods will combat your body’s ability to absorb iron.

Eating regularly is essential to keeping your blood sugar levels stable. Mindful eating will increase the likelihood that you’re consuming foods that are good for you instead of fatty foods that can cause high blood sugar, cholesterol, and various health problems. Eating balanced meals at regular intervals will keep you feeling healthy, and a balanced diet will also help you avoid feeling lightheaded or dizzy after your donation.

2). Stay hydrated.

You are what you eat, but what you drink matters just as much. If you’re planning to donate blood, drink plenty of fluids — especially water — in the days and hours leading up to your donation. If you’re properly hydrated, your blood donation is more likely to go smoothly, and your blood volume will stay at optimal levels.

Staying hydrated helps your blood volume return to normal faster after donating. If you’re not properly hydrated, the fluids lost during donation can cause a significant drop in your blood pressure and make you feel faint or dizzy. As a general rule, you should also steer clear of alcoholic and highly caffeinated beverages before and after you donate, as both can negatively affect your hydration levels.

3). Get plenty of rest.

Getting enough rest is good for your mind, body, and soul. It also makes it easier to give blood without experiencing adverse effects. You should aim to get seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night, especially the night before your appointment. This amount of rest is especially crucial to help your body recover and regenerate after donating. Beyond its importance for blood donation, consistently getting quality sleep will help you maintain your overall health.

4). Be intentional about exercise.

Exercising regularly will pay incredible dividends for your cardiovascular health and physical well-being. That being said, you should avoid working out immediately before or after donating to prevent dizziness and fatigue. Try to find an exercise routine that works for you between donations and stick with it. 

Our goal at The Blood Connection is to enrich the lives of those in our community, and that includes you, our donors. We hope these steps give you a practical way to become the healthiest version of yourself — because when you’re healthy, you’re better able to help others. And if you’re a blood donor, your helpfulness can make a lifesaving difference. 




First-Time Donor? Don’t Let Fear (or Misinformation) Hold You Back

First-Time Donor? Don’t Let Fear (or Misinformation) Hold You Back

donor rewards

First-Time Donor? Don’t Let Fear (or Misinformation) Hold You Back

Donating blood for the first time can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to. At The Blood Connection, we work hard to ensure new and regular donors stay informed and comfortable throughout the donation process.

Why Are Blood Donations So Important?

Blood donations are a life-saving gift. The generosity of donors helps countless individuals across the country recover from illness or injury and enjoy a quality of life they might not otherwise. There’s a constant need for blood in the U.S., with someone needing a blood transfusion every two seconds. This adds up to approximately 30,000 units of blood each day, meaning it takes 10,000 daily donations to meet the demand. 

Unfortunately, only 38% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate, and of those who are eligible, only 3% actually donate. These numbers show the vital need for more donors. Without sufficient donations, there will be more frequent shortages in the national blood supply, and people in critical situations won’t get the life-saving transfusions they need.

Blood transfusions help treat an array of conditions, both planned and unplanned. Cancer, blood disorders, and other chronic illnesses often call for regular transfusions of blood products. Emergency operations and complications during childbirth can also cause sudden surges in demand that exceed the blood reserves of many medical facilities. So, not only does there need to be a regular supply for ongoing treatments, but there also needs to be enough blood products available to meet unexpected demands. If you’re considering donating for the first time, there’s never been a better time to start. 

Overcoming Donation Fears

Donating can be intimidating if you’re not well-informed about the process. Let’s address some common fears of first-time donors and see how The Blood Connection sets people at ease by making the donation process as smooth as possible.

1). Fear of fainting

Fainting is a common fear of many donors, but it happens far less than many people think. And, even more encouraging, it’s relatively easy to avoid. To prevent feeling light-headed or fainting, eat a healthy meal and drink an extra 16 ounces of water before you arrive at your donation center. 

2). Fear of needles

We get it — needles can be scary. To ease your nerves, feel free to bring someone to calm and distract you as you donate. And if you’re feeling nervous, just let us know. Our team is happy to work with you to ensure you’re calm and comfortable. For most first-timers, we recommend simply looking away during the initial setup process. Of course, if you’re the curious type and want to know what’s happening, feel free to watch. It’s entirely up to you.

3). Fear of low iron levels

If you’ve struggled with low iron in the past, don’t let that deter you from donating blood. Just because you’ve been turned away because of low iron levels before doesn’t mean you can’t ever give blood. You’ll complete a mini-physical at our donation centers before every donation to ensure your iron levels are safe to donate. And if you are struggling with low iron, our team is happy to recommend ways to increase your iron levels.

4). Fear of being sick after donating

If you’ve never donated, you might worry about how you’ll feel when you finish. After each donation, you’ll be given refreshments to replenish the liquids and sugars in your blood. You’ll also be asked to “take your 10,” which is a short period of time during which our team will ensure you are well enough to leave. And if you start feeling unwell, our team is ready and able to help. 

5). Fear of not having enough time

Some people worry that donating will knock them out for the entire day. The donation process should only take an hour, with the actual donation taking approximately 10 minutes. As long as you are well-prepared before your donation and rehydrate and eat immediately afterward, you should be ready for the rest of your day in no time.

Debunking Common Donation Myths

Donation myths are one of the biggest reasons people choose not to donate blood. We think it’s important for our donors to know the truth about donating so they can make an informed decision about whether or not to donate. That’s why we’re happy to dispel some of the most common misconceptions about giving blood. 

Myth #1: It takes a long time to donate.

Fact: The entire donation process only takes about an hour from start to finish, and the actual donation only takes about 10 minutes.

Myth #2: Donating blood hurts.

Fact: The slight discomfort you’ll feel when donating is a quick pinch from the needle as it goes into your arm. After that, you shouldn’t feel any discomfort.

Myth #3: Your donation is unnecessary unless you have a rare blood type.

Fact: Every blood type is vital to maintaining a diverse national blood supply. Believe it or not, common blood types have a higher demand since more people can use them. Rare blood types have a smaller pool of donors, so the available supply is usually lower. Long story short, your donation is needed no matter your blood type.

Myth #4: Donating will deplete your blood supply.

Fact: It takes 24 hours for your body to replenish your plasma and 4-6 weeks to replenish your red blood cells. That’s why you can donate every 56 days. Rest assured, donating a pint of blood still leaves plenty for your body to operate at full capacity.

Myth #5: You can be too old to donate.

Fact: There is no maximum age to donate, but there is a minimum. Blood donors must be 16 or older, and parental permission is required for donors under 18. 

Myth #6: You can’t donate if you have tattoos or piercings.

Fact: In most states, you can donate blood immediately after getting a tattoo or piercing as long as you get it from a state-regulated parlor. Tattoos not applied by a licensed technician using a sterile needle and non-reused ink and piercings not done using single-use equipment will defer your eligibility for six months.

Myth #7: You can’t donate if you’re on medication.

Fact: In most cases, your medication won’t disqualify you as a donor. It’s more common to be disqualified due to the condition that warranted the medication rather than the medication itself. If you’re unsure whether your medication affects your ability to donate, please ask one of our team members at your donation center.

Myth #8: It’s dangerous to donate if you have high blood pressure.

Fact: If you’re worried about your blood pressure, you can rest easy knowing that we take your blood pressure during the mini-physical before your donation. You’ll be cleared to donate if the first number (systolic pressure) is below 180 and the second (diastolic pressure) is below 100. Even if you’re on blood pressure medication, you can still qualify. You can contact The Blood Connection to confirm that your medication is not on the deferral list.

One Donation Makes a Lasting Impact

Your blood is composed of blood cells, platelets, and plasma, all of which can help different patients. Red blood cells are commonly used during surgery, platelets can be used to treat cancer, and plasma is used for trauma and burn victims. Each type of blood product serves a vital purpose — and a single donation can save up to three lives! 

Before you donate, check to see if you meet our Donor Eligibility Requirements. If you’re eligible, you can start giving blood today. At The Blood Connection, you can schedule an appointment online or simply walk into a donation center. And remember — your generosity is changing and saving lives!

Giving Back to Donors: The Blood Connection’s Support Programs

Giving Back to Donors: The Blood Connection’s Support Programs

donor rewards

Giving Back to Donors: The Blood Connection’s Support Programs

Approximately 30,000 units of blood are needed in the U.S. each year. Without a steady blood supply, those suffering from cancer, leukemia, childbirth complications, and many other medical conditions will lack the most essential element of survival. 

At The Blood Connection, we recognize that maintaining a steady national blood supply is only possible because of the generosity of blood donors. Whether you’ve given once or are a regular donor, you’ve made a lasting difference — and for that, we are incredibly grateful.

While many of our donors give and expect nothing in return, we are dedicated to showing our support and appreciation for them through various programs and rewards.

Our Commitment to Our Donors

When you become a donor at The Blood Connection, you join a community committed to saving and changing lives. You’re putting others before yourself; we want you to know that doesn’t go unnoticed. In addition to our various rewards, promotions, and programs, we’re proud to offer our Donor Assistance Program.

Through this program, we offer donors in need of transfusions credits based on the number of times they donated within the year. We offer $25 for every whole blood donation and $50 for donations other than whole blood. So, if you donate three times throughout the year, you will be eligible for up to $75 toward transfusions. If you only require $25 worth of transfusions, you will only receive that amount. 

This program also includes group and family initiatives. If a group, company, or organization member needs transfusions, our Group Assistance Program allows the group to earn credits based on donations given at a blood drive they host. Our Family/Friend Assistance Program enables your consistent contributions to help your family and friends in the future. This program covers the donor, immediate family, and friends.

To qualify for the Donor Assistance Program, you must submit hospital records showing the patient’s name, the date of use, and the type of each transfusion. The donation must be given at The Blood Connection to receive credits for donating. 

Donor Rewards

TBC Rewards allows us to show our appreciation for our donors in a very tangible way. You’ll receive reward points every time you donate. Your points can then be redeemed for eGift cards of your choice. We currently have over 200 vendors to choose from. As a donor, your rewards can be seen through the Donor Portal or in the TBC NOW app. Just remember, reward points and eGift cards are non-transferable.

Beyond reward points, the Donor Portal gives you easy access to your blood type, donation eligibility data, mini-physical results, and more. The portal allows you to track your donor status so you can walk into each donation feeling confident and well-informed. But the Donor Portal isn’t just online — you can also view it on the TBC NOW app. With multiple access methods, using your portal has never been easier. When you download our app, you can find a drive, order eGift cards, and see your health screening results.

How To Get Involved

To become a blood donor, we ask that you meet a few simple qualifications. To donate whole blood, you must be in good health, at least 16 years old, and weigh at least 110 pounds. 16- and 17-year-olds must have parental consent to donate. Not sure if you’re eligible? Check out our Eligibility Requirements

If you’re eligible to donate, you can start the donation process by locating a Blood Connection donation site near you, whether that be a Bloodmobile or one of our local donation centers. Making an appointment online is preferred but not required. Before you come in to donate, drink plenty of water and eat a healthy meal. This will help the donation process go smoothly. You can also complete the TBC Express Questionnaire before you arrive to cut your wait time in half.

Make sure to bring your photo ID when you show up to donate. We will connect you with the correct account and check to see if you’ve completed your TBC Express Questionnaire. 

Before each donation, you’ll complete a mini-physical to ensure you’re healthy enough to give blood. Once you’re cleared, you can sit back, relax, and donate. The actual donation only takes about 10 minutes. Then, once your donation is complete, you’ll be offered refreshments and monitored to ensure you are safe to leave.

We couldn’t do what we do without generous donors like you, so we want to do everything we can to give you the support and recognition you deserve. If you want to become a first-time donor, schedule an appointment online or visit one of our donations today.