Celebratory thanks to blood donors from Southport

Celebratory thanks to blood donors from Southport

A special awards ceremony has honoured blood and platelet donors who have collectively saved and improved the lives of thousands of people.

NHS Blood and Transplant organised the celebratory event at Samlesbury Hall in Preston, to pay tribute to their dedication and commitment to donate blood which is a vital part of treatment for so many patients.

Commemorative medals were presented to donors for reaching 100 donations or more.

Christopher Lee, aged 60, of Southport, an aeronautical engineer, received the award for 250 donations, which included platelet donations. Platelets can be donated more frequently than blood. They are commonly used in cancer treatment and to reduce bleeding in traumatic injuries.

Christopher said: “I started donating when I was a university student. Blood donation is something which other people depend on for life and health, so if you donate, please do so. It’s the only kind of giving that is 100% effective. I know a lot of people who have received platelets during surgery and chemotherapy.”

Jean Skelland, aged 68, from Southport, received the award for 100 donations. She said: “My parents did it, so it seemed the natural thing to do. For an hour of your time, it could mean a lifetime to another person.”

The awards were presented by Lesley Ronson, 49, from Poulton-le-Fylde, who received numerous blood and platelet transfusions during successful treatment for Non Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Lesley said: “Blood donation gave me energy, helped stave off infections, stopped me haemorrhaging, and kept me alive. Blood donors are life savers. I became a blood donor in the late 1980’s and I never thought that one day I would rely on the generosity of blood donors to save my life.”

One unit of blood donated can save or improve the lives of up to three people, so 100 donations has potentially helped save the lives of up to 300 patients in hospitals through donating blood.

Out of all the people who give blood, just one in a hundred will reach 100 donations it.

Richard Shortland, Head of Regional Marketing at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “This celebration pays tribute to our loyal blood donors who have given their time donate 100 times and more.

“We are extremely grateful for their dedication and commitment, as every unit of blood given to a patient has come from a valued voluntary donor. The lifesaving effects a blood transfusion can make to a patient is remarkable.”

In general, as long as you are fit and healthy, weigh over 7 stone 12 lbs (50kg) and are aged between 17 and 66 (up to 70 if you have given blood before) you should be able to give blood. If you are over 70, you need to have given blood in the last two years to continue donating.

To register or book an appointment go online at www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23. Search ‘NHSGiveBlood’ in the app store to find and book sessions.