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SSC-Natick Press Release

U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Kansas Street
Natick, MA 01760-5012

Contact: Chief, Public Affairs Office
(508) 233-5340

Date: February 1, 2006
No: 06-05

Employee gives life more than 400 times

NATICK, Mass. -- Lou Dittami, a research physicist with the Fiber Processing and Technology Team, Natick Soldier Center (NSRDEC), has proven a lifesaver for many people. Dittami has been a platelet donor for almost 23 years and has donated platelets 415 times.

Platelets help blood to clot. Platelet transfusions are needed by cancer, cardiac, surgery, and bone marrow and organ transplant patients, as well as burn victims. These people require the platelets to survive.

Alison Capotosta, donor recruiter, Kraft Family Blood Donor Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute stated, "Until these patients' bodies can produce an adequate supply, the only source of platelets is from volunteer donors like Lou."

Platelets cannot be frozen and have a five-day shelf life. The need for donors is constant. Dittami is a member of the prestigious Team 20 of platelet donors.

According to Capotosta, "Lou has been a very important part of our family of donors. He donates platelets every two weeks and has been a Team 20 member since 1993. Team 20 represents a small group of donors who have donated platelets 20 or more times in one year."

"I began because I thought I could make a difference, and I thought it was a nice thing to do. After meeting many of the patients and their families at the Dana-Farber Clinic I came to understand how difficult their lives are 24/7. Their stories make my two hour involvement every two weeks seem quite trivial," said Dittami. "I know my efforts bring life to cancer patients and some comfort to their families. Knowing how important platelets are to patients and their families I came to realize it wasn't simply a nice thing to do, it was the right thing to do. Many of us lack the skills or opportunity to cure cancers, but we can help buy more time for patients and families in need with our blood."

"Lou has helped hundreds of people," said Capotosta.

According to Dittami, "The clinic collecting the platelets is in the Jimmy Fund Building of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The actual clinic is called the Kraft Family Blood Donor Center. Years before this family gained notoriety in the sports world they were held in high esteem by thousands of families associated with Dana Farber. Robert Kraft and his family chose to make a difference with this clinic, and I am happy to be part of his other team."

Dittami began working at Natick in 1983. He previously worked as a science teacher at a local high school.

For more information about platelet donation, please call the Kraft Family Blood Donor Center at 617-632-3206, or visit their web site at

For more information about the Natick Soldier Center or the Soldier Systems Center, please visit the website:

This page last updated on 23 January 2004.