AUSTIN (KXAN) — We Are Blood is the largest supplier of blood to 40 Central Texas hospitals, but it needs more donors to help cancer patients and kids awaiting organ transplants.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in the need for platelets in our community, over 40% more platelets are needed today than they were in 2017. That’s the result of population growth in Central Texas,” said Nick Canedo, vice president of We Are Blood Community Engagement.

Part of that growth is an expanding Dell Children’s role in organ transplants for kids.

“Pediatric transplant patients treated at places like Dell Children’s require platelet transfusions as they prepare for their transplants. Even traumatic-injury patients all need platelets. What makes platelets especially critical to collect is that they have a very short shelf life. They only last around seven days,” said Canedo.

Platelet supply is running critically low at We Are Blood.

“We’re seeing red, red for the weeks out. And that’s a scary situation, because it means even if we’re stable today, in three days, we will be in a critical situation,” said Canedo.

In an effort to encourage people to donate platelets, We Are Blood is offering incentives.

“If you donate five times over three months, between Sept. 1, at the end of November, you’ll be able to choose between one of four really fun items,” said Canedo. “Even a pack of four Alamo Drafthouse movie passes.”

 The process to collect platelets takes two hours, but Canedo is hopeful people will donate.

 “If you’re looking to give back and help patients in our community, especially cancer patients, this is a great way to do so.”

Feel free to schedule a donation appointment with We Are Blood online or call (512) 206-1266.