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Inverness mum calls for more people to come forward as blood donors

By Gregor White

Gaynoll Christie with son Cole.
Gaynoll Christie with son Cole.

Gaynoll Christie says she only lived to see her son grow up because of access to emergency transfusions.

Speaking out during the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service's (SNBTS) Blood Donor Week she said: "My son Cole turned 16 on June 5.

"As this was a milestone birthday it seems like the perfect opportunity to thank blood donors for what they do and encourage anyone who has never given blood before to sign up.

"The day after Cole arrived into the world I noticed that, instead of getting smaller, my stomach was in fact growing in size.

"By the time the nurses came to measure me the tape measure wasn’t big enough anymore – there wasn’t enough of it to go around my waist!

"I passed out soon after and then followed a massive haemorrhage; I had been bleeding internally.

"I needed three emergency transfusions to start with and then a further five transfusions over the following days as I’d lost so much of my own blood.

"As a family, we’ll never forget what blood donors did for us back then.’

With blood supplies regularly dropping by up to 20 per cent over the busy summer holiday period, SNBTS think it is the perfect time to remind regular givers to keep on donating as well as encouraging new donors to come forward.

In the Highland region alone 264 people are required to give blood every week over the summer period.

Dr Sylvia Armstrong-Fisher ofSNBTS said: "There are eight different blood groups and we aim to maintain a five to seven day supply of each one at all times.

"Our focus is to ensure that we consistently meet patient needs, and to this end we work closely with hospitals to forecast that demand. This means that we can provide donors with a greater level of detail about how their donation is needed.

"For example, A Positive is Scotland’s second most common blood group, so in the Highland region we must welcome 10 donors with this blood group every day.

"Currently, A+ is sitting at four days supply, so it is just below the desired level of five days.

"This is why we are asking A+ donors to come forward now and ensure supplies remain at healthy levels throughout the summer period.

"O Negative, on the other hand, is the only blood group that can safely be given to anyone in an emergency situation and so, every day across Highland, we need donors of this universal blood group to ensure A&E wards can operate safely.

"We would also love to welcome new donors. Forty-seven per cent of active donors in Scotland are aged 45 or over, so it is important younger people start giving blood to meet the needs of our ageing population.

"As you can start giving blood at age 17, we are reaching out to all younger people to encourage them to think about giving blood now."

To register as a blood donor or to find out where your nearest donation session is, call 0345 90 90 999, or visit www.facebook.com/givebloodforscotland or www.scotblood.co.uk

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