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Published on January 07, 2020

A unique bonding experience for local father and son

Hoyt Family Donation

Some fathers and sons connect by tossing around a ball. Harley and Kory Hoyt have strengthened their connection by donating blood platelets together.

“It’s an irregular bonding moment, but it’s nice because I’m the second oldest of nine and it gives us a chance to hang out,” said Kory, 26, of Dennis Port.

Platelet donation is different from regular donation in that blood is removed via the arm, a machine extracts just the platelets, and the rest of the blood is returned to the bloodstream.

Platelets are tiny cells that form clots and stop bleeding. Patients may need them if they are fighting cancer or another chronic disease or recovering from a traumatic injury, according to Jonathan DeCoste, senior blood donor recruiter at Cape Cod Healthcare.

“Platelets are a vital part of the treatment regiment for those who need help with clotting or who have a weakened immune system,” he said. Since platelets have a short shelf life - five days – new supplies are constantly needed, he added.

Kory first donated blood in 2011 when he was a college freshman.

“My grandmother had passed away my senior year of high school, and I wanted to try and give back somehow in her honor,” he said. “I started donating blood, but I later found out that because I’m AB positive, donating blood isn’t as helpful as donating platelets. So, I made the switch about three years ago.

“Knowing that the platelets go to infants who are born prematurely and cancer patients, it opened up a huge spot in my heart that I get to help people in a difficult situation.”

Harley Hoyt, 51 of South Yarmouth, first donated blood about 20 years ago, stopped for a while and started again when he went to a police department blood drive with his daughter.

“I have nine kids, so I can’t donate a lot of money, but I can donate my platelets every couple of weeks,” he said. “I can afford that. Plus, it’s brought me closer to Kory. It’s our little thing we do.”

He has learned how important donating platelets can be for patients.

“I was talking to a surrogate grandmother that we have and she said, ‘You’re not going to believe this. I have a friend who needs platelets.’ So, she thanked me for helping someone that I don’t even know.”

Harley, a mechanic at Balise Ford, and Kory, a relationship banker, started coordinating the scheduling of their platelet donations about six months ago.

Donors must wait eight weeks between donating blood but can donate platelets every two weeks.

“We just sit and talk and hang out,” said Kory.

Cape Cod Healthcare performs 600 platelet transfusions a year between Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis and Falmouth Hospital. Platelets are particularly useful to patients who need help with blood clotting, or to those patients with weakened immune systems.

For information about donating platelets, contact the Nicholas G. Xiarhos Blood Donor Center at 508-86BLOOD (508-862-5663).

Featured Image (left to right): Kory Hoyt, Harley Hoyt