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Bloodwise Ambassadors share their stories for World Blood Donor Day

The Bloodwise logo. Bloodwise appears in black text against a white background
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12 Jun 2018

To mark World Blood Donor Day, a selection of our Ambassadors tell us about the difference blood transfusion has made to them and their loved ones and share their messages to blood donors.

Bloodwise Patient Ambassador Natalie White pictured in hospital receiving a blood transfusion

Natalie White

Natalie (pictured above) is a Senior Biomedical Scientist who works in blood transfusion and haematology. She was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in 2016.

“During my treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia I required multiple blood transfusions and received 43 units of blood products (the name given to the different components that make up the blood). Within just six months, I received 19 units of red blood cells, 14 units of platelets and 10 units of granulocytes (a type of white blood cell), costing the NHS around £15,500!"

"Since my diagnosis and blood transfusions, I am no longer able to donate blood. However I encourage my friends and family members to donate on my behalf and I am keeping a record of their donations in order for me to understand when my debt to the national blood service has been repaid."

"I owe a lot to blood donors; not only my job, but, more importantly, my life."

Read Natalie’s blog: the importance of blood products during treatment.

Melody Berthoud

Melody’s son Andrew was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) at age 3.

“Andrew had 22 pints of blood or platelets during 9 months of intensive treatment. The transfusions literally saved his life.”

“My friend set up a ‘pints for Andrew’ group and every time he had a pint other people would donate to offset. By the time he reached his final transfusion at number 22, over 70 pints had been ‘banked’.”

Lisa Griffiths

Similar to Andrew Berthoud, Lisa’s son Hugo was diagnosed with ALL at age 2.

“I’ve always been a blood donor, but have now seen first-hand just how vital these donations are."

"Prior to Hugo’s diagnosis, I suppose I thought blood was needed for people in car accidents or other situations where people are actually losing blood. I’d never thought of cancer patients. I didn’t realise that treatment could result in the need for a transfusion. I was so naive about so much. I’m so grateful to everyone who donates – your donations are lifesaving.”

Ann Bromley

Bloodwise Patient Ambassador Ann Bromley (right)

Ann (pictured above on the right) was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2003.

“I had several blood and platelet transfusions during my chemotherapy and cannot tell you just how much of a difference they made. I would often be extremely lethargic and poorly before the transfusions and the impact was almost instantaneous. The transfusions kicked in almost immediately and gave me renewed energy to carry on fighting my illness.”

Read Ann’s blog: my battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Jude Irwin

Jude’s husband Nige has a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

“The night that Nige was rushed to hospital he received blood, which stabilised him enough to survive the first few days. He had 9 units at that time.”

“Nige and his family have always been avid blood donors – his dad until his diagnosis of, and death from, acute myeloid leukaemia; his mum; and his brother.”

“One of the things that upsets Nige is the fact that he’ll not be able to donate blood again and can’t ever repay what was a lifesaver for him. Many of our community, at home and abroad, have donated blood regularly since as it’s the one way they feel they can help.”

Louise Smith

Louise is in remission from Hodgkin lymphoma.

“I think there are many people who don't realise how vital donation of blood and organs are needed. Blood donation is so easy as it does not affect your life, or mean a big decision to be made by family members, unlike the donation of organs.”

Aileen Lamb

Aileen was diagnosed with AML in 2015.

“I had over 60 units of blood and platelets which kept me alive during treatment for AML and my stem cell transplant.”

Read Aileen’s blog: the importance of blood donations.

To learn more about blood donation and transfusions, read or download our blood transfusions factsheet.

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