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Give platelets

J. Fred Duckett, the longtime stadium announcer for the Rice Owls and the originator of the phrase “It’s a great day for outdoor football!”, is suffering from leukemia and in need of platelet donations. From the Owl fan forum, posted on Monday the 18th:

Hello all. I just spoke to Fred and, among other things, he said that he is need of platelets and blood. For those not familiar with platelets, they are necessary for blood to clot, they are often needed by leukemia patients on a daily basis and they have a very short shelf life (something like 48 hours). The process takes about two (2) hours and there are many things that are much more enjoyable than giving platelets, but nothing that is as important as giving for Fred. I called the Methodist Hospital Blood Center @ 713.441.3415 and made an appointment to give both platelets & blood on Wednesday of this week. As I said, platelets have a short shelf life, and we need to get people lined up to give platelets on a daily basis for as long as necessary (could be weeks depending on his treatment).

For this to be effective, there needs to be a schedule of donors. I am scheduled for Wednesday — we now need Tues (tomorrow) if possible, Thurs and Friday of this week and Mon-Friday next week, etc, etc. Email me and I’ll put you on the schedule on a first come, first served basis. As soon as I confirms your date, call the Methodist Blood Center @ 713.441.3415 and make your appointment — be sure to tell them you are donating specifically for Fred. Then call Fred and tell him what you are doing because he will have to provide some kind of written authorization since the platelets are specifically for him. I have done this before for patients at MDACC and it works, but we need commitments and help to get this coordinated and on track. It will then pretty much run on its own for as long as necessary. Please do your part to help Fred and volunteer now.

Fred’s blood type is A+, but platelets do not have to match based on blood type (ie, platelets from any blood type will do for Fred). Blood can be given something like every 8-10 weeks, but platelets can be given much more often like weekly. On Wednesday, I will give my platelets and O- blood. I will not be able to give blood again for 8-10 weeks, but I will be able to give platelets again in a few days (next week for sure). Because of the short shelf life of platelets, those that I give on Wed will have to be used on Thurs or Friday. That is the reason why a daily schedule of platelet donors is so critically important.

I can’t do this myself, because I did a double red blood cell donation back in March, which as noted here means I’m on the bench till July. Those of you who can, especially those of you in the Rice community, please click on the first link for more information, and please help if you can. Thanks very much.

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