Children whose mothers have benefitted from life-saving blood transfusions are encouraging donors to give blood during the Easter holidays.
Eight-year old Spencer Jamieson, from Bury St Edmunds, is among youngsters to have contributed an Easter-themed ‘thank you’ picture to remind people that donating blood saves lives.
Blood stocks are more vulnerable to shortfall around public holidays like Easter as the weather improves and people go on holiday or enjoy days out with family, but it is vital stocks are constantly replenished as blood has a shelf life of 35 days and platelets only seven days.
Hospitals across England need more than 6,000 blood donations every day, with blood or the components of blood used to treat people with conditions like anaemia or cancer blood disorders, as well as those having surgery.
Sherri Jamieson, Spencer’s mother, said: “I was a fit and healthy 24-year-old looking forward to the birth of my first child, Spencer, in July 2008. When I went into labour I was taken to West Suffolk Hospital, Bury, but there were complications.
“After I’d been in labour 24 hours they did tests and we found out that Spencer was in the wrong position and almost out of oxygen, so it became an emergency caesarean. Due to the long labour my uterus gave up contracting and I just hemorrhaged and hemorrhaged.
“I had a blood transfusion whilst I was in theatre and woke up in Critical Care. It took two hours to stop the bleeding, during which time I lost 2.5 litres of blood, around half of the blood in my body.
“Three years later, in May 2011, I had a planned caesarean for the birth of daughter Laila but again needed a blood transfusion and lost 1.5 litres.
“I’m so thankful – people taking an hour out of their day to donate blood has given me the rest of my life. My boss and sister’s fiance became regular donors after hearing what happened.”
Michelle Laserna, senior marketing coordinator at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Why not swap a chocolate egg for a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit at your local blood donation centre? Every blood donation can help save or improve up to three lives and we would like to thank all our blood donors for their dedication.
“The need for blood never stops and I urge donors to book an appointment in the Easter holidays if it’s time for them to donate again.”
Every blood donation is vital, but NHS Blood and Transplant particularly needs to ensure supplies of the universal blood group O negative, which is often in short supply because demand is so great. There is also a need for supplies of rarer blood types including A negative and B negative.
It is also important for more people from black and Asian backgrounds to donate blood. Some disorders, such as Sickle Cell Disease and Thalassaemia are more common in patients from these backgrounds and they have a need for well matched blood. Donors from the same ethnic background are more likely to be a close match.
Donating a unit of blood takes less than an hour from appointment time. To book, visit www.blood.co.uk or call 03001 232323 to find your nearest session. The Athenaeum on
Angel Hill, Bury, will be holding sessions between 12.50-3.30pm and 4.30-6.45pm on Monday (April 10).
Platelets can be donated at 23 dedicated centres across the country.
It is also easy to book through mobile apps for Windows, Android and Apple devices. To download the app, search ‘NHSGiveBlood’ in the app store.