Celebratory thanks to blood donors

Centurions honoured at awards event.

A special awards ceremony was held to honour nineten loyal blood donors from Birmingham who collectively have saved and improve the lives of up to 5,700 people.

NHS Blood and Transplant organised the celebratory event for 38 blood donors at Aston Villa Football Club, to pay tribute to their dedication and commitment to donate blood, which is a vital part of treatment for so many patients.

Commemorative medals for reaching 100 blood donations were presented to Mr John Allsopp, Ms Marie Armstrong, Mr Brian Devlin, Mr Timothy Dutton, Mr Peter Gannon, Mr Ronald Heeley, Mr Paul Hodnett, Mr Malcolm Howes, Mr Martin Jones, Mr Christopher O’Reilly, Mr Barrie Paterson, Mr David Payne, Mr Arthur Russell, Mr David Smith, and Mr Ronald Starling. For 250 platelet donations commemorative medals were presented to Ms Kim Robotham, Mr Peter Stroud, Ms Karen Vann, and Mr Clive Walder.

David Payne, aged 62, from West Bromwich, has donated 100 units of blood. David said: “My wife received blood transfusions during surgery for cancer. Knowing how important and how many lives it saves I think everyone should start donating. You never know if yourself or close family member might need it one day.”

Ronald Starling, aged 69, from Great Barr, donated 100 units of blood, said: “A close family member who had leukaemia received blood and platelet transfusions during their treatment. Donating blood is quick and easy and can help save patients.”

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.

Joanne Bullock, aged 40, from Quinton attended the ceremony as a guest speaker. In 2015, Joanne’s son Josiah, aged three and a half months, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. Josiah was taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. He had gone very pale and was starting to bruise easily. Within a few hours, Josiah had received both blood and platelet transfusions.

Over seven months, Josiah received more than twenty blood and platelet transfusions. In October 2017, Josiah rang the end-of-treatment bell and is set to start reception this year.

Joanne said: “Every time Josiah received blood and platelets, I would think about the person who donated and be thankful for them.

“Being able to present and personally thank these kind loyal donors for their generosity in helping save lives like Josiah’s, has been truly remarkable. I thank every blood donor who takes the time to donate, you really do make a difference.”

Shailesh Mistry, Donor Marketing Operations Manager for the West Region, commented: “We thank all our loyal donors from Birmingham for their incredible dedication and commitment. They are part of a very special club that saves and improves lives.

“Every donation is a precious gift and every unit of blood given to a patient has come from a valued voluntary donor. Nationally, we need 400 new donors every day to meet patients’ needs and we urge people in Birmingham to start donating too.

“We especially new younger blood donors so they can become loyal and long-term donors, to replace those older donors who have contributed so much by saving lives.

“We also need more black blood donors. People from similar ethnic backgrounds are more likely to have matching blood. But there are not enough black donors and some black hospital patients don’t always get the best matched blood.”

To become a blood donor, book an appointment by calling 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk.