News Release

Platelets for Life, Inc.
P.O. Box 686
Derby, VT 05829

4 May 2017


Platelets for Life Formally Launched

Robert Richardson of Derby recently announced the formal launch of Platelets for Life a 501(c) (3) non-profit established for promoting platelet education, donorship and research. 

Platelets are very small blood components responsible for quickly changing shape to stop bleeding.  Recipients of platelets include cancer/leukemia patients undergoing chemotherapy, women undergoing difficult childbirth, premature infants, bone marrow or organ transplant recipients, those with traumatic injuries, hemophiliacs and others.  Many surgical procedures are scheduled around the availability of one or more units of platelets which could be required over an extended period of time to get a patient through recovery.  Donor and recipient identification is anonymous. 

Platelets have a very short life of 5 days and must be kept in constant motion and at body temperature until used.   Regular Dartmouth donors have their platelets undergo refined analysis at the University of Vermont Medical Center to determine detailed antigen information which is used to tighten the match between donor and recipient in critical situations.  Each platelet donation can help up to 3 adults or 6 children with donors able to donate up to 24 times a year.  The donor doesn’t experience any side effects and the body regenerates platelets from the donor’s bone marrow within 3 days.  Depending upon a donor’s platelet count they can donate up to three units at a time.  All Dartmouth donations are used at Dartmouth or at one of their affiliates around Northern New England.

Richardson began laying the groundwork for this foundation two years ago as a result of his bi-monthly platelet donations at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and his youngest brother who required platelet transfusions after undergoing emergency surgery many years ago.

The foundation is especially thankful for the support of Dartmouth, the Norris Cotton Cancer Center and the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth.   Federal non-profit status was granted this past August.  Word of the organization spread throughout the Dartmouth community and soon a group of students asked for permission to form a Dartmouth College Platelets for Life Chapter followed shortly thereafter by a similar request from Colby Sawyer College.  The Dartmouth College Student Chapter just launched a donor contest among the Dartmouth and Colby Sawyer Schools.

Platelets for Life has attracted a great team of directors.  These include: Dr. Ziggy Szczepiorkowski, the President of the American Association of Blood Banks and an associate professor of pathology and medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth as well as section chief of laboratory medicine, medical director of the Transfusion Medicine Service, medical director of the Center for Transfusion Medicine Research, and director of the Cellular Therapy Center.  Emmanuel Ajavon, the supervisor of the Blood Donor Program and Cellular Therapy Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.  He previously held positions at the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and served as the director of Donor Services at Central New Jersey Blood Center. Denee Fioravanti, an executive assistant at Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Pathology Department.  She works extensively within blood related specialties including cell and transfusion therapies and is passionate about a variety of causes where she has initiated or served in key roles some of which include serving as the sponsorship chair of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, supporting the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth, an Advocate for Let’s Grow Kids, coordinator of collections for Toys for Tots and many other projects.  Jax Willey, the Vice President for strategic talent sourcing at Orion Global Talent where she orchestrates talent search and acquisition strategies for clients in need of filling key positions in life sciences, engineering and regulatory compliance.  She is in charge of the firm’s social media talent programs, develops and produces custom video productions and is active in a variety of charitable endeavors including helping establish the Platelets for Life and Believe in Miracles non-profit organizations.  Bob Richardson, the founder of Platelets for Life and is the President of Orion Global Talent.  He previously served as the Director of Marketing and Senior VP at an international merger and acquisition firm in New York City and has been involved in a variety of charitable projects serving as a regional fund-raising chairman for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, a former Rotary International Assistant District Governor and assisted his wife in establishing the Believe in Miracles Foundation.  The Board also consists of a rotating Director representing the Dartmouth College and Colby Sawyer Student Platelets for Life Chapters.

Local supporters include Don Whipple who spent a day at Dartmouth for a comprehensive photo shoot of the entire donation process, Brian Bonvechio who assisted in setting up the non-profit and  ATT/Audiocarve of Newport who reconfigured donated cell phones for use by the blood donor program.  National underwriters/supporters include LinkedIn, Google, YouTube, GoDaddy, Amazon, Facebook, VMware Foundation, Orion and Orion’s top life sciences client, Deloitte.

Platelets for Life has established a Facebook page, two LinkedIn groups – one for the donor and recipient community the other for the medical/research community and a public service announcement video for donor sites to use for promotion and education. In the future, the Foundation’s goal is to fund promising first-stage breakthroughs in platelet, cell and transfusion therapy procedures and technologies.  Those interested in joining the platelet donor team can contact the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Blood Donor Program at 603.653.3775 or the American Red Cross in Burlington.

To get in touch with the Platelets for Life team, contact them through email, Facebook or phone.

They welcome all levels of involvement from donating platelets to supporting in other ways.

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Media Contact:

Bob Richardson

Mobile:  802.558.3647   or 802.334.4560


Public Service Announcement Link:

Facebook Discussion Group:


Photo caption:
Bob Richardson, founder of Platelets for Life is being hooked up to an apheresis machine used to separate platelets at DHMC.  Photo by Don Whipple.