DEDICATED blood donors who have collectively saved the lives of more than 10,000 patients were rewarded at a NHS Blood and Transplant ceremony.
Among the long-standing blood donors were people from Worthing and Littlehampton who had given 100 donations.
Tributes were paid to the loyalty and commitment of 34 blood donors from across Sussex at the ceremony in Brighton last Friday.
Barry Lovell, 67, from Goring, has been a dedicated blood donor for 43 years, having started donating blood at the age of 25.
He said: “I was training to be a police constable for Sussex, at Sandgate Training School in Kent, when I first began donating blood.
“One of the instructors who was an inspector gave a talk about donating blood as his daughter had leukaemia and was receiving blood donations. I have given ever since.
“It’s important to donate, you never know if you or someone close to you may need blood. It can help improve the lives of so many people.”
Retired Paul Prior, 68, from Littlehampton, has been donating blood for more than 50 years.
He said: “I started donating blood when I was 18 years old, when I was working in a factory in Purley Way in Croydon.
“The nurse was encouraging staff to donate blood, so I went along and donated for the first time. If you are able to give blood, please sign up and donate. It gives me great satisfaction to know that I have helped save so many lives.”
Each blood donation can potentially save the lives of up to three people, so if a donor has given blood 100 times, they have potentially helped save the lives of up to 300 patients in local hospitals through donating blood. Out of the four per cent of the eligible population who give blood, just one per cent reach 100 donations.
Guest speaker was Sompting mother Claire Baldwin, who lost her eight-year-old son, Harvey, on October 30, 2014, after an 18-month battle with leukaemia.
She said: “It was a privilege to meet with such dedicated donors. Harvey received a total of 35 units of blood and 56 pools of platelets during his 18 months of illness.
“Before this, we were unaware to the needs of those undergoing any long-term treatment, let alone a young child with blood cancer. But our eyes have been opened to the need for blood for many different reasons.
“And I would like to thank blood donors for the 91 times they prolonged my son’s life and gave us another day with him.”
Michelle Laserna, senior marketing co-ordinator at NHS Blood and Transplant, has witnessed the dramatic effect blood transfusions have made, both to friends and patients she has visited as part of her work.
She said: “These loyal donors are very special to us, which is why such an event gives us the opportunity to say a real heart felt thanks. Between them, they have saved thousands of lives, and improved the lives of countless others who have required blood transfusion. These donors are an inspiration to us all.”
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 – Make our website your homepage
2 – Like our Facebook pages
3 – Follow us on Twitter
4 – Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!
Sussex Newspapers – always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.