The Blood Matters Blog ·

Five OBI Employees Who've Stepped Up in a Time of Need

With platelet supply dangerously low, OBI is calling on our amazing donors to schedule an appointment and give if possible. Many of us, though, have been getting in a chair ourselves as well.


Someone in the U.S. needs platelets every 15 seconds. Right now, however, Our Blood Institute and our hospital partners in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas are experiencing a dramatic platelet shortage.

All of us at OBI are actively encouraging our surrounding communities to schedule a platelet donation appointment – raise your hand if you received an email from us – but we also recognize that we are just as much a part of our community as the donors we rely upon. Here at OBI, we have an internal mission statement we call "The OBI Standard." Part of it states that "with the highest of stakes at hand, we work as one team, with one goal and one mission."

We've had so many employees living out that standard by donating platelets this month that we felt it was only right to share a little bit of our inspiration with you. We hope you find the stories of these five OBI employees as heart-warming and motivating as we have!

Lindsay Chavis

Lindsay Chavis has no issue remembering her "why."

"The need is something that's very near and dear to my heart as I have had several family members who have had to receive blood products, primarily my mother and younger sister," said Lindsay, OBI's donor services director over Little Rock, North Little Rock and Hot Springs, Arkansas. "We have had a few staff members here in Little Rock pass away from cancer, some of them actually in donor services in fact, that received several platelet transfusions while going through chemotherapy. I think it’s so important to share that and keep that reminder, to keep that 'why.'"

Lindsay has been giving blood since joining OBI back in 2015 but a medical deferral kept her from being able to donate for much of 2023. Recognizing the severity of the current platelet problem, though, Lindsay decided it was time to hop back in the chair. Thank you, Lindsay!

Lavita Carson

A donor care representative in OBI's contact center, Lavita Carson works hard scheduling potential donors. Earlier this month, though, Lavita chose to make an even more direct life-saving impact by doing something she had never done: book a platelet donation for herself.

"I had been thinking about it," said Lavita, who celebrated her first year at OBI earlier this month. "I was just like 'Why not?'"

Lavita said not only was the experience “not a hard thing” but that she thinks it will actually help her in her job. She even ended up scheduling another appointment for herself! Wowza, Lavita!

William Nichols

Albert "William" Nichols came aboard as an inventory management coordinator in Ada a little over three years ago, but he’s been giving blood for close to 50 years! He’s also a regular Proud Platelet Donor, donating every two weeks.

Here he is last month alongside Ada inventory manager Rhonda Jackson with their Proud Platelet frames, a rock star in her own right with over 45 platelet donations since 2021.

William would probably prefer being outside of the spotlight – “I’m not really looking for recognition, it just makes me feel good in the heart” – but when you’ve given so diligently for so long, a little recognition is in order. Way to go, William (and Rhonda)!

Sundee Busby

When a canceled meeting left an opening in her schedule, OBI Director of Volunteer Services Sundee Busby quickly booked a platelet appointment. It was her 19th platelet donation and 37th lifetime donation – amazing stuff!

She also managed to strike up a conversation with another donor, a 28-year-old named Thomas. With his laptop in hand, Thomas told Sundee that he realized about a decade ago that he could watch TV and play video games while saving lives, so that’s what he’s been doing ever since. It was his 139th lifetime donation. He scheduled his 140th before leaving the donor chair.

Because of her admirable example, Sundee wasn't just able to show up for her community – she managed to receive a little inspiration herself. Nicely done, Sundee!

Randy Petty

Randy Petty, OBI's client relations and contracting director, had never donated before joining Our Blood Institute a little over three years ago, but in his time here has donated platelets 30 times! His latest act of giving came last Thursday, and while not out of the ordinary for Randy, it shows that when a need is there, he's someone to be counted on. We appreciate you, Randy!

Who can donate platelets?

The ideal platelet donor:

  • Is healthy!
  • Weighs at least 110 pounds.
  • Has never been pregnant.
  • Has not taken aspirin within the last 48 hours.
  • If you have A+, B+, AB+, or AB- blood type, your blood will have the greatest impact when you donate platelets. If you meet the requirements for giving blood, then you can usually donate platelets. We will check your platelet count to see if platelet donation is right for you.

Where do platelets go and who do they help?

  • Platelets give cancer patients the strength they need to keep fighting. They also help patients survive major surgeries or serious injuries. Platelets give strength to patients with blood disorders and those with transplants.

Schedule Your Next Donation