By Penny Black, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross North Texas Region
Karolton Sefcrik has donated blood with the American Red Cross since 1991. Karolton’s journey as a blood donor began in Detroit where he was inspired to donate because his mom was a blood donor in the 1970s.
Upon relocating to Texas, Karolton discovered there was not a local Red Cross platelet donation facility nearby. Determined to continue doing his part, Karolton would drive to Tulsa, Oklahoma–approximately a 12-hour round-trip–24 times a year to donate platelets.
With the opening of the new American Red Cross Irving Blood & Platelet Donation Center, Karolton was excited to be the first platelet donor in the new location where he can continue making his lifesaving contributions much closer to home.
Karolton enjoys donating because he believes it’s the right thing to do and allows donors to help people they don’t know. He donates whole blood as well as platelets–small, colorless cell fragments in blood that help stop or prevent bleeding. To date, Karolton has donated more than 60 gallons of blood and platelets to help patients in need.
“Blood can’t be reproduced or manufactured. And you can’t get it from just anywhere,” explained Karolton.
With 30 years of blood-donating experience, he advises those donating platelets to dress warmly because their body may get cold during the donation process. The process can take 2-3 hours, depending on blood type.
The Red Cross provides snacks, but Karolton also recommends eating a full meal and taking any prescribed medications before donating.
To keep donors entertained during their appointment, personal screens are available so donors can watch their favorite movie or shows.
“It’s vacation, not jail,” said Karolton describing his relaxed state while providing lifesaving blood products.
When patients are in need of blood or platelets, it is because of heroes like Karolton who roll up their sleeve to help that it is already on the shelf and available when it’s needed most.
Join Karolton by becoming a blood or platelet donor today. Visit www.redcrossblood.org to learn more.