Lexington man with rare blood antigen donates platelets to help mystery woman

“I was told she didn’t have anybody else,” Derrick Smith said.
Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 3:02 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Kentucky Blood Center is thankful for repeat blood donors, calling them everyday heroes.

There’s one donor that stands out from the rest. Derrick Smith has a rare blood antigen that’s a perfect match for one woman’s illness.

Smith is a frequent visitor to the Kentucky Blood Center. On the outside, he seems like a normal, healthy guy. However, there’s something inside that makes Derrick unique.

“What’s different about Derrick is that he has a very rare antigen in his blood that not many people have,” said Mandy Brajuha, VP of External Relations at Kentucky Blood Center.

Back in February 2020, Derrick donated whole blood at his job. Months later, the Kentucky Blood Center ran a test and discovered his rare antigen may help a woman’s illness.

“I was told she didn’t have anybody else,” Smith said.

So, this past spring, Derrick would drop in once a month and donate his platelets to a woman he’s never met.

Two strangers, a perfect match, only coming together by blood.

“Three hundred million people in the United States and I’m the only person that can give this person a chance,” Smith said.

The woman needing Derrick’s special antigen match doesn’t live cross country or somewhere hours away, they both live in Lexington. Who knows, they could’ve crossed paths and didn’t know it.

“You want to know what this person, who she is. It is a mystery,” said Smith.

Smith, an everyday hero who possesses a special superpower inside, specially made for only one person.

“My favorite superhero is Captain America and he doesn’t hesitate to step up to help other people, and that’s kind of how I feel,” Smith said. “If someone needs help, you step up and help them.”

Goes to show how one blood donation can save a person’s life.

Derrick has donated platelets six times since May.

The Kentucky Blood Center is keeping the woman’s identity private, but they hope, one day, the two can meet.

WKYT is partnering with the Kentucky Blood Center for the annual WKYT Blood Drive on September 8 & 9. You can go to to either Kentucky Blood Center location from 9:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. to donate.

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