Page 1

TheDonor

T GE BER R M FO U ’T N N W DOE NE TH

45 8 0

11 7 11 7 7

NEWS AND INFORMATION FROM THE NATIONAL BLOOD SERVICE

SPRING 2001 • FREE

It’s a miracle New Newante-natal ante-natallife lifesaving savingtechnology technology

Thanks to you Look Lookout outfor forour ournew newaward awardscheme scheme

GIVING MORE THAN BLOOD

MAKING DONORS HAPPY How our donation review will help you


CONTENTS

NEWS

Carlene Dias Editor

William is new centre star Official thumbs up for Blood Service

T

Improving the service see pages 8/9

he National Blood Service (NBS) has received a positive report from the National Audit Office (NAO). Commenting on the report, NAO head Sir John Bourn said, “The availability of blood is essential to the NHS and many people owe their lives to transfusions that were made possible by voluntary donations of blood. “The National Blood Service has had to change the blood service from a regional to a national one, cope with the emergence of variant CJD, and at the same time maintain supplies to hospitals of sufficient safe blood… The indications are that the Service has made good progress towards providing an effective national service,” Sir John added. Since it was set up in 1993 the NBS has taken over the services previously provided by individual regional health

Giving more than blood see page 7

3 NEWS Latest news and stories from donors and donor centres across the country

7 GIVING MORE THAN BLOOD Volunteers are important to the NBS and there are many ways to make a difference

8 KEEPING THE CUSTOMERS SATISFIED Read how we are planning to make a 30 minute donation session a reality for every donor. Meet one of the new thoroughly modern collection teams in action

10 MY LIFE … We catch up with the woman who sets the pace at the leading edge of ante-natal blood screening

11 IT’S A MIRACLE The remarkable story of how pioneering technology saved baby Jame’s life before he was born

12 OVER TO YOU Heard the one about the dog that became a donor. Check out the letters page, plus try our seasonal recipe and health Q&A

13 EASTER’S NOT EASY FOR THE NBS Holidays can mean low blood stocks, so give the NBS a very Good Friday by giving before you go

S

toke-on-Trent has become home to the second permanent blood donor centre in the West Midlands. The Stoke Centre, which uses an appointments system across a flexible range of hours, on three days a week, is already proving very popular. Nine-year-old local boy William Tinsley, who must

receive three units of red cells a month, proved to be the star of the show on opening day. And his mum Debbie became one of the new centre’s early donors. William is pictured with her just after she had donated. Debbie was also interviewed by BBC Radio Stoke presenter Sam Plank.

Euro MP publicises donating

E

uro MP Philip BushillMatthews and his wife Angela, who are both committed donors, did their bit to help boost turnout in their home village of Harbury, Warwickshire, after hearing

that blood stocks were down nationally. They helped publicise the need for donors and made sure they were among the first donors through the village hall doors on the day.

We welcome your personal stories, questions and comments. Write to Carlene Dias, The Editor, The Donor, National Blood Service, Southmead Road, Bristol, BS10 5ND. Or visit our Website to find out more about the National Blood Service and where you can also send us material for The Donor. The address is www.blood.co.uk

W

hat a difference a donor makes! Six months after receiving a bone-marrow transplant, sixyear old Molly-Ann Barnett from Leeds is “full of energy and feeling well” according to her parents Paul and Mandy. Molly Anns parents would like to say a very big thank you to everyone who responded and enrolled as a potential bone marrow donor. Because Molly Ann has a rare tissue type getting a match was very difficult. As a result of the

Tea time for the troops

14 THANKS TO YOU Now veteran donors can look forward to consistent awards

15 THE INFORMATION CENTRE An up-to-date listing of all permanent blood donor centres

16 NIGEL’S 90 DAY CHALLENGE

The National Blood Service is run by The National Blood Authority which is a Special Health Authority within the National Health Service

The cost of producing, printing and posting each copy of this magazine is less than the price of a first class stamp. The Donor is published by the National Blood Service. Reproduction in whole or part is strictly forbidden without the prior permission of the National Blood Service. NBS Project Liaison Caroline Osborne. Editorial consultancy, art direction, design, subbing and production Keith Hodgson and Hilary Joseph – Lewin Hodgson Design (LHD). Reproduction – Triffik Technology. Printed in the UK by Apple Web Offset Ltd on paper from sustainable forests. Cover photograph: Steve Lyne

Find out where to give blood visit www.blood.co.uk

authorities. The NAO report found that blood transfusion is now ‘extremely safe’, collection and delivering of blood is better in many areas since the NBS took over from regional health authorities, there were no blood shortages in 1999-2000, costs savings of 5.4% were made between 1995 –96 and 1998-99. Some improvements could be made, the report notes, including better communication with hospitals, more emphasis on adopting good management practice uniformly throughout the country. Comments Jim Moir, Head of Corporate Relations at NBS, “This was a very positive audit, and our staff were very pleased with the findings – it was a real morale booster. We have already started working hard on some of the NAO report recommendations. ”

Good news for Molly-Ann

A trip around Britain in a canoe is one man’s way of putting the spotlight on the NBS and saying thanks for saving his life

GOT SOMETHING TO SAY?

2 THE DONOR SPRING 2001

In this Spring issue

appeal, more than 14,000 new donors went onto the British Bone Marrow Registry. Even though the match for Molly-Ann was found in the US, it is vital that more volunteers from all parts of the country come forward as donors. The more people that register, the

ROSS PARRY PICTURE AGENCY

Welcome to the second issue of our new-style The Donor. We’ve been busy carrying out reviews and surveys to find out how the NBS can best serve you the donor. On pages 8 and 9 you can read about the extensive review being carried out of the whole donation process, with a view to getting waiting times down. Then on page 14, you can preview the new awards scheme, developed after we asked donors what they wanted. And finally, we’ve been finding out what you think of our re-launched magazine, to see how we can make it even better and more relevant to you. From a phone survey of over 500 donors last December, the message is that you broadly like what we’re doing. Half of interviewees said they had read the magazine, and 84% of these readers found it “useful/interesting”, while 89% said they would like to receive further issues. These results confirm the value of mailing the magazine instead of leaving it to be picked up at donor sessions – the number of readers has jumped from about 380,000 to 990,000 – a fantastic result. Interviewees had plenty of ideas for future material for The Donor and we’ll be looking carefully at all your comments and suggestions. We know that some households received more than one copy, and we are working to reduce duplication. One major aim of The Donor is to keep you informed of important changes and events, and we were encouraged that 50% of readers said they knew about the website and new NBS national phone number, featured in the last issue of The Donor. Finally, thanks to everyone who took part in the survey, and keep your letters coming!

greater the chance of finding a suitable match.

Become a bone marrow donor

T

he criteria for becoming a bone marrow donor has recently changed. You can now enrol as a bone marrow donor up until your 45th birthday. You must be a blood donor and have given one donation, aged between 18 – 44, be in good health and weigh over 50kg (7st

12lbs), plus consent to a small extra blood sample being taken to identify your tissue type. Potential bone marrow donors are matched to patients by tissue type. If you would like to know more contact the British Bone Marrow Registry on 0117/ 991 2068 or 912 1534.

Sports reporter ends a marathon innings

W W

hen the Army hosted a “Big Brew Up” at Donnington base in Shropshire as part of a nationwide campaign, it saw the National Blood Service as a likely ally. After all, every day some 10,000 people around England drink NBS tea after giving blood, so they must know how to make a cuppa! The event was the third fund-raiser organised nationally by the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and

Families Association (SSAFA), which works to support former Services personnel who are in need. Seen above making sure no one took too many biscuits are some of the soldiers who helped on the day, with Tricia Smith who assisted Staff Sergeant Andy Dyke with the organisation, and Blood Service staff members Kingsley Brookes and Brendan Mulvey.

hen Robert Jackson retired as a donor recently it was with the immense satisfaction of knowing that he had given an amazing 171 donations. Mr Jackson, who was approaching his 70th birthday at the time of his final donation, began donating in 1949, following in his mother’s footsteps. He

Don’t forget the new number 0845 7 711 711

continued to donate both through his service in the Navy and then in civilian life. In the past 20 years he has been sports reporter for BBC Radio Sheffield and has also served as a magistrate. After his final donation Mr Jackson received a framed certificate from Eve Worthington of the Sheffield National Blood Service. THE DONOR SPRING 2001

3


NEWS

They never get ‘tyred’ of donating

Insurance policy The Kingswood Surrey office of insurance giant Legal & General, which has been hosting sessions since 1966, is celebrating that it has topped 14,000 donations. The most recent two-day session followed the launch of a new NBS campaign “Working together to save lives”. Being run in conjunction with the CBI and TUC, the campaign is targeting companies and organisations to raise awareness of the need for blood and encourage blood donation in the workplace.

Life-saving town

Editor signs up

I

nspired by a successful recruitment campaign involving his own newspaper, the editor of the Portsmouth News, Mike Gilson (above left), signs up as a blood donor under the watchful eye of Southampton donor recruiter Geoff Anderson. The campaign saw 67 new donors enrolled.

It’s so simple, after all!

T

he Ealing Gazette recently gave donor sessions in the area a big boost by sending along a reporter who freely admitted: “Even the word ‘blood’ can make me go weak at the knees.” But first-timer Fiona Mitchell not only got through her donation, she went on to write a full-page article which spelled out just how easy and important it is to give blood. Easy because it only took 15 minutes, and important because, in her words, “2.5 gallons of blood are used every three minutes across England and North Wales, blood is in huge demand.” Her article, which carefully reported on each stage of the donation process, would not only have reminded existing donors to go along to their local sessions but must also have led a lot of people to make the decision to enrol as a new donor.

4 THE DONOR SPRING 2001

T

he Michelin company’s factory in Stoke-onTrent, Staffordshire, has clocked up what may be a unique claim to fame - 50 years of hosting blood donor sessions for employees. In that time, estimates the National Blood Service, Michelin staff have given more than 28,600 donations. As the NBS itself was only established in the years after the war, it may be that Michelin is our oldest commercial supporter. At the first session held at Michelin, in

October 1950, a total of 112 staff donated. Over the years numbers have varied, often reaching well into the hundreds. Indeed, sometimes they have reached epic proportions - with the record being 321 donations taken on one day in June 1977! Pictured above: Jim Rickard (second left), the Michelin Stoke site manager, receives a crystal rosebowl from Ken Barker of Collections at Birmingham Centre and team leader Barbara Clarke.

Life office with more than one meaning

Some 20 companies in Farnborough allow their employees to donate during work time, and over the last 20 years this has yielded over 23,400 life-saving units of blood, or 3000 gallons. This could very well have saved the lives of over 50,000 people, which is about the total population of Farnborough! In one recent ten-day period no less than four businesses hosted donor sessions. Truly a fine example of what “Working together to save lives” is all about.

Celebrating a century of blood groups

A

hundred years ago this year, Karl Landsteiner of Vienna (1868 – 1943) published his discovery of what we now know as the ABO blood group system. He had realised that there were differences between the blood of individuals following experiments performed using samples from his colleagues at the Institute of Pathology in Vienna. He mixed their red cells and serum and observed that some mixtures would result in clumping of the cells whilst in others the red cells remained separate. Landsteiner initially called the three blood groups which he identified A, B and C. These eventually became known as A, B and O. The rarer group AB was not

discovered until the following year by two of Landsteiner’s pupils. Landsteiner’s work opened the door to safer transfusion but it was some years after his discovery that blood grouping was routinely adopted. Although the ABO system was the first blood group system to be discovered, it still remains the most important. It is vitally important that we ensure patients are given blood of the correct ABO group. Karl Landsteiner emigrated to New York in 1922, and discovered the Rhesus blood factor whilst working at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1930 for his work on blood groups. MARY EVANS PICTURE LIBRARY

What the papers say...

NEWS

Trax booster brings in donors

R

adio really helped the NBS Centre in Sheffield get the message across about how important it is to give blood. Trax FM, based in Doncaster, and five sister stations focused for a full month on donor sessions which needed a boost. At the same time, the NBS publicity caravan was kept busy visiting locations to raise

in brief... A fit place to give Clifton Leisure Centre in Nottingham has opened its doors not only to keep-fitters, but also to those who want to help make others fit. When the centre hosted its first donor session it proved a great success - with 173 people donating.

Doing it “at the double”

A

procedure which allows collection of two units of red cells by apheresis in a single donation is being successfully operated at Leeds Blood Centre. Leeds undertook a pilot study of the procedure during the latter part of 1997, and the evaluation of this was completed in 1998. A total of 32 donors, all men, volunteered to participate in the trial. One important aim was to demonstrate that the selection criteria and frequency of donation would allow routine collection without significant risk to the donor. Donor tolerance to the procedure was measured in each of the volunteers –

with very positive and enthusiastic results. Donors on the panel are asked to make two donations a year, which are planned on an appointment system for their convenience. Each donation takes about 40 minutes. This major initiative means the National Blood Service can meet red cell collection targets more effectively – being the equivalent of four donations per year compared to the usual maximum of three. It also allows the NBS to collect specific types of blood, such as O-negative. Pictured above, donor Steven Myers and NBS Staff Sister Alison Sivyer at St Paul’s Street Blood Centre in Leeds.

awareness, and staff attended sessions to recruit additional donors. A recipient from Doncaster, Tim Wood, who suffers from leukaemia, was interviewed - telling Trax FM listeners his amazing story of receiving a huge amount of both blood and platelets. The result – a grand total of 350 new donors were enrolled.

Alan really runs for life

B

A

nother long-standing business backer for blood collection is Friends Provident Life Assurance, in Dorking, where donor collection teams have been regular visitors since 1959. In that time they have collected more than a thousand gallons from staff. In fact, the visits to Friends Provident go back almost as long as the company has been based in Dorking. Pictured above, Ross Braithwaite of Friends Provident does his bit, with the help of Donor Carer Cindy Wheeler.

irmingham donor Alan Parton (pictured right) is so keen to give blood that he runs eight miles to do so. Alan is dedicated to keeping fit as well as to helping others - and he combines the two by jogging to Birmingham Donor Centre every time the Blood Service asks him to donate. Aged 57, Alan is also setting a cracking pace when it comes to the number of times he has given - with 63 donations to his credit so far. “I usually run to the Donor Centre but occasionally I cycle for a bit of variety,” says Alan, who has also run many

Village first The Lincolnshire village of Ruskington is now well and truly on the National Blood Service map, having held its first donor session very successfully. Villagers were keen to roll up their sleeves, with 142 donating on the day, including 48 first timers. At the front of the queue was NBS staff member Eve Worthington, who praised local people for turning out and hoped the success of the session would encourage even more to come along next time.

Warm work Things really warmed up during a busy session at Fakenham Community Centre in Norfolk when it was discovered the gents toilets were on fire. Team Manager Andrew O’Brien and an off-duty fireman who had come along to donate were able to extinguish the blaze before the fire brigade arrived. Says Andrew: “The officer in charge gave the all-clear to continue, so thankfully no donations were lost. The donors were kept informed throughout and enjoyed the excitement, especially when I emerged with blackened face to the cheers and congratulations of the team.”

Real high-flyers

102 donations! W hundreds of miles for charities. “They won’t let me run home though, so I take the bus.”

Find out where to give blood visit www.blood.co.uk

hen Gerald Woodhouse, of Dudley in the West Midlands, made his 102nd whole blood donation he did so with a flourish worthy of Walt Disney – by bringing along the family’s dalmatian.... “l02 Donations”, you might say! The donation was also Mr Woodhouse’s last as he is nearing his 70th birthday.

City centre success

T

he Blood Service in Manchester teamed up very successfully with CSV, an organisation which gives people the chance to volunteer for socially valuable projects, to help recruit in the city. “The donor centre took 78 donations on the day and

had to ask other potential donors to return later in the week because the session had been so popular,” said Pat Walmsley, donor recruitment co-ordinator, who is seen above second from right with team members.

Don’t forget the new number 0845 7 711 711

The Waterlooville facility of aeronautics giant BAe Systems, in Southampton, has a novel way of letting staff donors know how much they have given - a poster which went up after a recent session said: “That’s 90 bottles of wine, or nearly 15 gallons of the stuff!” Support starts right at the top, with Managing Director Andy Williams a keen blood donor. THE DONOR SPRING 2001

5


CAMPAIGN NEWS

HELPERS

Do we have any volunteers? Giving blood, pouring tea at donor sessions... how else can people help the NBS? With energy and imagination volunteers can make a difference to the business of blood donation

Above: In Bodmin the local Fire Brigade was on hand to help. With Billy and the crew is Jade Tabb, a Bodmin 12-year-old who needed blood and platelets during a successful operation to remove a brain tumour.

Above: Yasmin Le Bon (left) with recipient Jo McAuliffe and NBS Chairman Mike Fogden

he year end was fun but busy for Billy Blood Drop and his colleagues at the NBS, with everyone determined to boost blood stocks for Christmas. Here we catch a glimpse of the national launch of the NBS 2001 calendar which features 12 stories of people who owe their life to blood donors. Yasmin Le Bon (above) joined us at Hamley’s toy store in London for the calendar launch, meeting two very special people -18month-old Beth Heaton and Jo McAuliffe, 29. Without blood donors, neither of them would be alive today. Beth was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia when she was four months old. She depended on transfusions of red blood cells and platelets to keep her alive until a suitable bone marrow donor was found.

standards. We also work closely with local media and within the Jewish community around the Hertfordshire/North London area.’ The Renaks are nothing if not creative in their approach. All donors who come to give blood are put on a mailing list, and are subsequently sent raffle tickets, newsletters, and invitations to the various events. Each year, the appeal dreams up new fundraising activities and ideas, like balls, dinner dances, sponsored bike rides and film premieres.

Casualty star Ian Bleasdale teamed up with Billy and 10-year-old Victoria Turner, from Bristol, to launch the campaign on the SS Great Britain. Victoria has a rare type of brain tumour and needed five whole blood transfusions during her treatment. She is one of the 12 recipients featured in the Christmas Calendar.

Busy Billy’s fun-filled mission Jo, a civilian staff member with Thames Valley Police, has set a target of recruiting 1,000 new donors – because that is the amount of blood and blood products she received during treatment for the acute and potentially fatal disorder TTP (Thrombotic Thrombocytopaenic Purpura – reduced platelet cells in the blood ). Yasmin was delighted to help as she has a personal friend whose child needed blood for the first three years of his life. Mike Fogden, Chairman of the NBS, said: “We were delighted that Yasmin could join Beth and Jo at Hamleys. Every day, around 10,000 donations of blood are needed to meet patients’ needs.”

DAVID TOTHILL

T

● (No picture) Two other recipients from the Trent region who feature in the calendar helped launch it locally. While young Bradley Osborne from Nottingham, who is “December”, went along to meet Billy Blood Drop at the Nottingham Blood Donor Centre, Tim Wood “ March”, from Doncaster joined a training session at Brendan Ingle’s world-famous gym.

Over £200,000 raised

W In the West Midlands, Billy Blood Drop was kept busy helping with four launches. He met Mandy Rhodes, who features in the calendar, and her husband Les, who is a platelet donor at Birmingham Donor Centre. Mandy’s life was saved by blood and platelets after she developed aplastic anaemia

Panto stars bring smiles on the wards Billy also joined the stars during the festive campaign, linking up with pantomime characters to bring smiles to children’s wards in hospitals all around England.

hen Joel Renak died in 1994 aged 4 from a rare form of liver cancer, it must have seemed unthinkable that anything positive could come out of such a tragedy. And yet Joel’s parents, Lisa and Leigh Renak, channelled their grief into an amazingly life-affirming project, the Joely Bear Appeal. “When the Renaks’ son died, a great many people came forward asking what they could do to help?”, explains Lakshmi Vishram, Marketing Co-ordinator at the National Blood Service. “They turned round and said: ‘What you can do is go and give blood’”. The Joely Bear Appeal was born.

How donor sessions started

Plymouth Argyle Football Team really dressed the panto part when they met Billy and Shaun Williamson to launch the calendar. Shaun was diagnosed with bone cancer in the knee and required many units of blood in his treatment. The team were not wearing their new kit, but are all dressed up for their Christmas lunch!

6 THE DONOR SPRING 2001

It was goody bags and balloons for all when the cast of local panto Dick Whittington joined Billy to visit youngsters at Torbay Hospital.

A young patient at Pinderfields Children’s Hospital in Wakefield meets Billy and cast members from Jack and the Beanstalk.

Find out where to give blood visit www.blood.co.uk

Lakshmi Vishram describes how the National Blood Service first got involved with the Joely Bear Appeal. “One of the NBS directors said to the Renaks: ‘You’re bringing us a lot of blood donors - how about we come to you instead?’ That’s how the first collaborative blood sessions were set up. Now all the

Leigh and Lisa Renak, with NBS contact Lakshmi Vishram, making a real difference through their imaginative campaign

NBS does is provide a trained blood collection team. The Joely Bear Appeal even finds a venue for us, which we simply assess to make sure it meets all our strict criteria, especially health and safety

The appeal, which has already raised over £200,000, was initially set up to provide facilities which would help improve stays in hospital for young cancer patients and their families. Things like comfy chair-beds and kitchen facilities, adventure playgrounds within the grounds of the hospital, TVs and videos, books and studying equipment for long term patients.

How you can help The NBS welcomes all different kinds of voluntary help, but needs vary around the country, whether its making tea at a session, recruiting more donors or simply raising awareness. If you want to try and do something really amazing to help the NBS, why not see if you can find enough people to donate and organise your own session. This could be possibly at your work place, or in the local neighbourhood, and you would need to be able to get people to give blood three times a year. There are strict guideleines, but it’s not impossible to do, as you can see from this article. For all information about organising donation sessions or helping in other ways, please write to: Volunteers, FREEPOST, NBS, 75 Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 7YB. ● For more information about the Joely Bear Appeal, how you can help, or join in with their regular blood donation sessions, please telephone (020) 8953 5455, or email: joelybear@ybpconsultants.co.uk

Don’t forget the new number 0845 7 711 711

But the Renaks didn’t stop there. They realised that the Joely Bear Appeal had potential and began sponsoring holidays for seriously ill children and forming support groups for parents going through similar experiences. The Joely Bear Appeal has also created substantial grants for research into the treatment and early detection of cancer in children, and is investigating the use of placental cord blood as a possible replacement for bone marrow transplants. And they have of course, campaigned to promote the importance of giving blood, including running three blood donor sessions a year! “The Joely Bear Appeal is just one of many ways volunteers help the NBS,” says Lakshmi Vishram. “We have regular volunteers who help out on the marketing side, enabling us to be more efficient. One woman, Maggie Hackney, acts as our local eyes and ears in the Hitchin area, spotting new developments springing up, like industries and businesses, housing, cinema complexes or gyms, and helps pave the way for us to promote blood donation sessions there.”

Other kinds of help Fifty-six year old Nancy Shavick has also become something of a star volunteer at the NBS, participating in the Joely Bear blood sessions, as well as going the more traditional routes. Since 1962 she has made over 500 apheresis donations and is a regular at the Edgware Donor Centre. She’s even been called upon to donate blood to allow a baby to have an artery operation. Nancy admits: ‘I helped saved the baby’s life and it was one of the most satisfying moments of my life.’

THE DONOR SPRING 2001

7


THE DONATION REVIEW

THE DONATION REVIEW

“This will be the biggest single change to the NBS blood collection service ever undertaken. It is essential that we implement a standard, faster donation process as soon as we can” Richard Fry NBS Director of Services to Donors

Above left, checking progress during the session at Stamford Bridge Above, the new donor card reduces waiting time Left, a chance to catch up on important new donor information

the NBS does promise to keep you up to date with progress through The Donor or with information at sessions.

Looking ahead

Hilary and the York Team, left, already improving life for donors. Above, giving blood and having a laugh at Stamford Bridge,Yorkshire

Q: How do you keep 2 million donors happy? D onors love giving blood, but hate waiting to do it. “Waiting times are now the single biggest cause of complaints from donors and probably the highest cause of donors not returning,” says Richard Fry, NBS Director of Services to Donors. Heeding these complaints, in January the NBS began the biggest ever review of the way blood is collected. It will take about a year to complete and covers the whole of England and North Wales. One key aim of the review is for all donors to be able to donate

A: With a fast, efficient blood donation service. Read how a new NBS review aims to deliver just that within 30 minutes of arriving at their session. Another is to make the 92 mobile teams and 23 permanent donor centres operate to the same high standards so that donors receive a consistent service wherever they are.

Why donors wait

improved blood safety has slowed down the donation process. The tick-box questionnaire, for example, introduced several years ago, added ten minutes to the waiting time. Of course any changes resulting from the review must not compromise blood safety in any

way, but Richard Fry hopes that a thorough top-to-bottom look at the whole donation process will highlight areas where efficiency can be improved. “We will be reviewing current practices and seeing where we can make changes to improve the overall Service. The scope of this will be from the time a donor

Waiting times have crept up because of new, more exacting health and safety standards –

Sessions to suit

What this means for you! We have been listening to our donors and that is why we have launched the biggest review of the donation process ever undertaken. This review is looking at everything we do that affects you, and as a result of it you will see: ● Shorter waiting times ● Greater efficiency at every stage of your donation ● Courteous and friendly treatment throughout ● Modernised methods ● A consistent and truly national service And at the same time we will sustain our worldwide reputation for the best clinical standards And finally, the best part of all... tea!

8 THE DONOR

SPRING 2001

arrives to departure.“ Focus groups from around the country will help the NBS collect the views of donors and make sure its plans match their wishes. Another key area of the review will be session opening hours. “We intend to ask a representative number of donors from all areas for their views on session hours, and we will draw up a plan to move to the preferred times,” says Richard Fry.

Find out where to give blood visit www.blood.co.uk

Many donors want an appointment system, and the NBS has run various pilot schemes. These demonstrated that while many donors want to be able to book an appointment, others prefer to simply turn up, and it is important that neither group inconveniences the other. Also donors have certain expectations of an appointments system – that bookings and changes to appointments can be made up to the day of the session. Such flexibility isn’t possible yet, but Richard Fry and his team are looking at making it so as part of the overall modernisation programme.

A review as thorough as this will take time to complete and implement, particularly where there is a need to re-train all staff. Donors won’t see change overnight, but

Changes for the better are already in place up in York, where a new locality based team has been set up as part of the NBS’s modernisation programme. Staff are local, so they know the area and its people. The team of 22 is currently working three days a week covering a large area of Yorkshire. The team’s emphasis is on getting to know the donors, building their trust and confidence, while offering an efficient and flexible service. Donor cards which

are used nationally carry all the details of a donor, save precious time in the donation process. Another improvement is extended opening times for sessions, which are not interrupted for staff breaks. Donors are enthusiastic about the new team. Says one, “A very efficient session - friendly and painless! This is the first time I have given blood to the York team - I will be back.” York Team Manager Sister Hilary Ford is equally enthusiastic. “It’s very rewarding to see that donors appreciate the team’s positive approach and the changes we have made to the way that sessions are run. We are enjoying getting to know our patch and its donors.”

The way we were A

look back at how things used to be! These two photographs were taken at a National Blood Service donor session on 13 April 1954 and have been sent in by staff member Alan Devenish, Scientific & Technical Trainer, whose father is among the donors having tea (above). Going back even further - to 1936, more than a decade before the NBS was formed - is this letter, above right, sent to donor Frank Apperley, of Harborne in Birmingham. It tells him what his blood was used for, where, who the doctor was - plus a bit of background about the patient and the happy news that she went on to make a complete recovery. It was sent in by his son, Richard Apperley, who works for the NBS in Birmingham.

Don’t forget the new number 0845 7 711 711

THE DONOR SPRING 2001

9


MY LIFE: Vanessa Hook

NEW TECHNOLOGY

Biomedical Scientist, Sheffield Blood Centre

Tess also works closely with the Hospital Referral section as the patients with antibodies or their babies may require blood transfusions at delivery or sometimes even before delivery. The staff from the Hospital Referrals section then select and crossmatch special blood products to send to the hospital looking after mum and baby.

Surviving against the odds A Nicola Sibley had already lost two babies because of a rare immune response. But thanks to a pioneering technique – and vital blood products – this pregnancy had a happy ending.

STEVE LYNE

Tess sets a tough pace Some babies need a bit of help to be born healthy. Biomedical scientist Tess Hook is part of a team performing vital ante-natal blood tests on mothers that save babies’ lives

investigate in more detail. This is to determine whether the antibodies are likely to cause problems for the baby during pregnancy.”

V

Patients with significant antibodies are closely monitored at regular intervals during their pregnancies. “Some patients are tested every two weeks so we become quite familiar with their names,” she says, “and it is always nice when we get samples from mum and baby at delivery and everything is alright.”

Busy days The department has two sections, Antenatal and Hospital Referrals. The Antenatal section tests almost 90,000 blood samples a year from pregnant women throughout the Trent Region. “On a busy day we can have as

10 THE DONOR

SPRING 2001

many as 600 blood samples to test. Each sample is blood grouped, virology screened and tested for red cell antibodies. Much of the testing is done by machine and the majority of our patients will have negative results,” says Tess. “However, there are a few patients who have antibodies which we

Close monitoring

How screening saves lives Testing the blood of pregnant women is a vital part of antenatal care. As well as picking up conditions like anaemia, diabetes and the presence of any viruses, it also pinpoints which babies are at risk from the mother’s immune system. Sometimes her antibodies attack antigens (proteins) on the baby’s red blood cells, with serious or even fatal results (see story opposite on page 11). Donated blood can be vital for these babies, as many need transfusions in the womb, or soon after birth. Injections of antibodies extracted from donated blood can also help prevent problems in women planning further pregnancies, by “deactivating” their damaging immune response.

STEVE LYNE

anessa Hook, known as Tess to friends and colleagues, is a Senior Biomedical Scientist in the Antenatal Section of the busy Red Cell Immunohaematology Department at the Sheffield Centre. She joined the National Blood Service in 1987 and has since gained both a BSc and MSc in Pathological Sciences. A typical day starts well before she arrives at the Sheffield Centre, as she takes her Rottweiler, Jason, for a three-mile walk before breakfast. Once at work the day begins liaising with other senior staff who supervise the 19 laboratory staff.

A busy day can see Tess processing 600 tests

Find out where to give blood visit www.blood.co.uk

Professor David James, of Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, first gave the baby a vaccine of antibodies, called immunoglobulin, at 13 weeks - via a drip to a tiny vein developing in his liver - to protect his blood cells from antibody attack. Then at 16 weeks James received a series of nine blood transfusions, given directly into a vein in the abdomen. Nicola was also given treatment to suppress the immune response that was threatening the baby.

“It’s a miracle to me because I never thought I would have another child, and he’s just lovely.“

“and it is always nice when we get samples from mum and baby at delivery and everything is alright.” In addition to supervising the day-to-day running of the Antenatal section, and occasionally “filling in” when one of the other staff is on leave or sick, Tess answers many queries from midwives, doctors and hospital blood banks. “Sometimes the phone never stops ringing all day! But now that we have a National Computer Database we can usually provide all the information needed.” At the end of the day when all the samples have been tested and the reports are ready to be sent to the midwives and doctors, Tess drives home to Barnsley and teaches step and aerobic classes at a local gym. “There is no better way to relieve the stresses of the day than putting a class full of people through physical torture,” she says.

baby with just a 1% chance of being born alive has arrived fit and healthy thanks to blood donors and pioneering medical treatment. Baby James was at risk because his mother, Nicola Sibley, developed rhesus haemolytic disease, a condition in which her

James survived thanks in part to blood products from donated blood

Thriving baby Born at 34 weeks, James has thrived ever since, and his mum says: “It’s a miracle to me because I never thought I would have another child, and he’s just lovely. It was a 99% chance that I would lose the baby, and we are so grateful to the professor and his team.” Doctors have been able to carry out blood transfusions in the womb after the 20th week of pregnancy for some years, but rhesus haemolytic disease sometimes strikes before then and until Professor James developed his new treatment nothing could be done to combat it. About a hundred pregnancies in the UK are threatened each year in this way.

immune system antibodies could cross the placenta and attack him in the womb. Eventually, Jame’s red blood cells would have been overwhelmed and he would have suffered heart failure. Nicola, from Blaby in Leicestershire, had already lost two babies in this way. But baby James David (named after Professor James who helped save him) survived because of a revolutionary technique which blocked the immune system attack and used blood transfusions to keep him alive.

‘O’ Group

Blood products that save lives T

he red blood cells of babies carry antigens (proteins) on their surface from both parents. These antigens may provoke the formation of antibodies. Sometimes, when the mother is Rhesus (Rh) D negative blood type and the father Rh D positive, the baby’s blood is attacked by anti D antibody which is made by the mothers’ immune system following a previous pregnancy. Babies can become anaemic in the womb and require transfusions of red cells (intrauterine transfusions ) to survive. Nowadays cases are rare thanks to preventative treatment. Before then about 1000 babies a year died of Rhesus disease in the UK. Now anti D is routinely given to Rh negative pregnant women to prevent such tragedies. However, this is not an infallible treatment, and intrauterine transfusions may still be needed during pregnancies in a small number of cases.

Group O Rh (D) negative donors are needed to provide these important blood products. Blood from donors has to be concentrated to provide a high red cell content in a volume small enough to be transfused into a foetus. In addition donor blood must be free of any red cell antibodies – which could attack the baby’s blood – and be negative for the CMV virus, which is carried by about half the population, and harmless if transfused to an adult but potentially fatal to an unborn baby. Tiny babies like James cannot be transfused in the womb in the first half pregnancy and the only alternative is to give an immunoglobulin vaccine, which protects blood cells from attack. About 200 intrauterine transfusions of red blood cells were given last year in the South East alone. Each pregnant woman may have 2-5 transfusions during the pregnancy.

Don’t forget the new number 0845 7 711 711

‘O’ group is the most common blood group, and it can be given to people with a different blood group, that’s why we need lots of it.

NICK DIGGORY

Left: At the end of the day, time to put people through their paces

THE DONOR SPRING 2001

11


OVER TO YOU

PLATELET COLLECTION

Every dog has his day ... I have received a copy of The Donor and thought you might like this story - even my dog’s a donor! I am a keen blood donor and have chalked up over 60 donations, and one of my daughters is now a

regular donor. But I wasn’t expecting one of my dogs to join in as well. When I came home from work one evening I saw that Guinness one of a pair of lurcher brothers who are part of the family - had a freshly shaved patch on his neck and was not wearing his collar. My wife and another daughter work in a local vet’s. They had a spaniel taken in which had suffered internal bleeding and was seriously in need of blood, so the vet said to my wife, “Go and get one of your dogs!” So Guinness duly “volunteered”. I enclose a picture of the new donor (he’s still waiting for the

WRVS to bring round a bone) and his brother Murphy is very jealous of all the attention he has had since. DAVE MONK SUDBURY, SUFFOLK

Thank you During my chemotherapy I required 12 units of blood, and as I cannot thank these twelve people personally, I can only thank them through this letter to you. I also thank you for the job that you do – at times it must be stressful when you know that certain groups are low. I am A Pos, a common group but still needed all the same. So my thanks and my wife’s, go to the twelve that saved my life. The wonderful twelve I call them, as they have given me the gift of life when I could easily have died. So many thanks to all concerned and if I could donate a unit or two myself, I can assure you I would be the first in the queue. DEREK PARKER ECTON BROOK

And two make fifty

We both received one in the post yesterday and I have read it from cover to cover. I found it very informative plus it was great to get to know what else goes on behind the scenes. I admire the NBS and the work they do: that is why I have done my best to donate on a regular basis. In 1991 my husband had a car accident and required surgery for a knee injury. He needed blood, so this once again confirmed my admiration and support for your organisation. We have now both given 49 pints and are delighted that we are due to give our 50th pint at the same session, in the near future. I can’t wait to get my badge. Not

Why the long Good Friday is tough for the Blood Service

bad eh, 100 pints between us. My husband and I thought about doing something in addition when one of our friend’s children was diagnosed with leukaemia. When I read your magazine last night, we were both upset to read that we were too old to join the bone marrow register, as we are both in our 50s. We are unsure what else we can do, but rest assured we will continue to donate regularly as long as our health allows. Keep up the good work. I shall be looking at your website in the near future.

Platelets are vital to many seriously ill patients. But stocks take a dip over public holiday weekends so the National Blood Service needs your support to keep supplies flowing.

E

aster is coming, but before you trip off for a well-earned break, spare a thought for the hospitals and patients who still rely on blood donations – even when donors are away. Bank Holiday weekends and four day holidays such as Easter and Christmas are a real headache for the National Blood Service because so many people go away, or are busy with friends and family and can’t find the time to donate. ‘Red cells are not such a problem – they have a shelf life of 35 days after collection and so we can build up stocks before a holiday. It’s platelets which are the problem – they have a five day shelf life, so we cannot stockpile them,’ explain Liz Caffrey, national lead consultant of Services to Donors. ‘ We do what we can by collecting as many platelets as possible the day before the public holidays, to cover hospital needs over the whole period. Even then we

DENISE CACKETT KNOTTINGLEY Due to shortage of space not all published letters are shown in full. Whilst we welcome your letters, we cannot guarantee a reply or to publish them. However, any complaints raised will be responded to via our complaints procedure.

RECIPE

Vegetarian chilli Meat free but still packed with protein, fibre, vitamins, and lots of spicy flavour – this delicious vegetarian chilli recipe makes the perfect Spring supper. Chilli too hot? Natural yoghurt puts out the fire perfectly (and adds protein) – stir a little into each portion, or serve in a bowl on the side with a garnish of chopped coriander.

My husband Ron, and I have been blood donors for over 20 years and have never seen your magazine before.

CONNY JUDE

IS IT TRUE THAT... We answer some of your questions about donating

Q

I have asthma and would like to donate. Will my condition prevent me? There is nothing to stop you from giving blood provided you only need to use an inhaler. You can check with your doctor about this first to make sure. My doctor has told me I will need an operation soon and have had tests to check on my progress. Should I still continue with giving blood? We don’t recommend giving blood if you are on a hospital waiting list or undergoing medical tests. Check with your doctor or with our helpline to find out more. As a child I had glandular fever. Will this stop me

A

Q A

Q

12 THE DONOR

SPRING 2001

from becoming a donor? If you have fully recovered there’s no reason why you can’t give blood. You can always ask the staff at a session, as they will take your full medical history before you can donate. I have been a regular donor for many years and have reached an age when HRT treatment is being recommended. I would like to continue with donating but am unsure whether the HRT drugs will affect my blood and stop me from giving? We have lots of ladies who give blood whilst receiving HRT treatment, so please donate as usual.

A

Q

A

TO SERVE 4 to 6 2 x 400g tins red kidney beans 1 x 400g tin peeled chopped plum tomatoes 1 medium onion,chopped 1 clove garlic, chopped 2 medium courgettes, chopped into 2cm long chunks

2 celery sticks cut into 2cm pieces 2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into 2cm chunks 200 ml vegetable stock 1 tsp chilli powder or to taste Oil for frying Salt

Drain and rinse kidney beans. In a thick bottom large saucepan heat a little oil and gently fry the onion, carrot and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add chilli powder and cook for about a minute. Add the kidney beans and tinned tomatoes, stirring gently. Bring to boil, then simmer with the lid off for about 15 minutes. Add celery, carrots and if the mixture looks too thick, a little stock. Simmer until all the vegetables are tender and tomatoes and stock are well-mixed and thickened – about 20 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve with rice or naan bread.

Find where to give blood visit www.blood.co.uk

may need to run additional sessions over the four day holidays to ensure there are enough fresh blood products.You can imagine that by day five stocks are running pretty low, and yet demand for platelets stays the same.’ Why are platelets so vital to the NBS? These small blood cells are essential for normal blood clotting, and seriously ill patients with cancer and other disorders need regular platelet transfusions to prevent lifethreatening spontaneous bleeding.

Give before you go If you’re a donor already, you can really help the blood service by remembering to ‘give before you go’ – a campaign which was a great success last summer. Or you can volunteer to donate blood by a process called apheresis, which is a method of extracting only one type of blood cell – such as platelets or red cells – and returning the remainder

DAVID TOTHILL

This is your chance to tell us your news, views and interesting or unusual donor stories. Write to Carlene Dias, Editor, The Donor, National Blood Service, Southmead Road, Bristol, BS10 5ND.

of the blood to the donor. Says Liz Caffrey, ‘Apheresis is very useful because we can select donors for specific blood or tissue type, and then call them in for an

Platelet donors are life-savers Jeffrey Partridge is only 48 but has given more than 1000 donations! He began as a whole blood donor, but then became a platelet donor, which allowed him to give far more frequently. Jeffrey, from Linton in Cambridgeshire, is pictured above with his award of a crystal decanter at the Cambridge Donor Centre. Asked what he would say to people who have not given blood, he replied, “Go and try it just once, it is so easy to give blood.” He should know! Jodie, pictured right, is five and a leukaemia sufferer who has needed regular platelet transfusions as part of her treatment. Jodie is seen here with her

grandfather John Say, who is a platelet donor, his wife and Fatima Whitbread, at the opening of the newly refurbished Brentwood Donor Suite. Thanks to platelet donations from people like Jeffrey and John patients like Jodie achieve amazing results, which John can see first hand.

Don’t forget the new number 0845 7 711 711

Liz Caffrey promoting the ‘Give before you go’ message

appointment. It’s especially effective for collecting platelets because donors can give much more frequently, up to once a fortnight. Because only platelets are extracted from the blood, all the red cells are returned to the donor and there is no risk of anaemia. Also one donor can provide enough platelets to make what we call an Adult Therapeutic Dose (ATD). If we use whole blood donations, we need to use four or five units, which means four or five donors.’ Typically the apheresis donation is taken from the arm, spun in a special machine to separate out the platelets, and the remaining components are returned to the donor as part of the same process. Because of the special equipment needed, apheresis can only take place at the 19 permanent NBS sites in England, which may open specially over holiday weekends to collect vital platelet donations. THE DONOR SPRING 2001

13


RESEARCH

NBS INFORMATION Left: When it comes to donor research, Cripin’s the expert

locations across the country, 1900 whole blood donors were asked their views on the current award scheme, how it could be improved,

As a result of the survey, in the coming months a brand new awards scheme is being rolled out.

REMEMBER

DAVID TOTHILL

The vast majority of donors (90%) support awards as a way of saying thank-you. Particularly popular are milestone awards made after 10, 25, and 50 donations. The 50th donation in

0845 7 711 711

Donors can give blood three times a year

ALL CALLS ARE CHARGED AT LOCAL CALL RATE

For your information, here are details on our permanent Blood Donor Centres. If, for any reason, your local donor session is no longer suitable, then it may be more convenient for you to attend one of our permanent Blood Donor Centres. We would ask you to please call the relevant number below to find out the opening times and book an appointment or whether you can just turn up. Alternatively, you can call our new National Donor Helpline on NICK DIGGORY

and what form awards should take. This was analysed by Crispin and the awards scheme was reviewed.

Milestone awards

Don’t forget, the new Donor Helpline number is

donations will receive a special pen, 75th will be given an Edinburgh Crystal plate, and those making their 100th donation will receive an Edinburgh Crystal decanter. Both 75th and 100th will also have the option of

The right kind of thank you You could say we’ve got a fresh attitude to gratitude! The NBS is launching a new awards scheme that will give donors around the country the very best sort of thank-you

E

veryone likes to be thanked when they do something good, and donors are no exception. The only trouble was that until recently the NBS was saying thank-you in different ways to different donors, depending on where they lived. While some regions might, for example, offer an awards presentation at the 50th donation milestone, others may not. This was confusing for donors, and seemed unfair. “We have to hold up our hands. Due to the old structure we weren’t being consistent,” admits Caroline Osborne, NBS head of marketing services. “The differences go back to the fact that before we became a national service, every region had its own way of doing awards. This meant you could read a story in the local paper about donors receiving one type of award where you lived, but because you gave blood in a

14 THE DONOR

SPRING 2001

different region, perhaps where you worked, you would have received a different award for reaching the same milestone.” To put things right, last August the NBS asked Crispin Wickenden and the market research department to look into donor awards to find out what people really wanted. At 100 separate

particular seemed to be considered a remarkable achievement that merited special recognition. But donors are a modest lot, and only wanted some sort of token of appreciation plus a big thank-you. Grandiose presentations were not what most wanted. As a result of the survey, in the coming months a brand new awards scheme is being rolled out. Every donor achieving 10, 25, 50, 75 and 100 donations will receive a pin-brooch, certificate, letter of thanks, and a new donor card. In addition veterans of 50

attending an award ceremony. “We will try to ensure that the transition to this new national awards scheme is as smooth as possible,” says Caroline. “We really have listened to what donors want in the way of recognition, and we hope the new awards show them just how much they are valued,’ added Caroline. Don’t worry, we’ve not forgotten about apheresis donors. A new awards scheme will be developed for this special group as soon as we have spoken with them in detail.

What makes donors tick? The NBS probably has more information on that question than any other blood service in the world, thanks to its Market Research and Analysis Department. Set up in 1998. The department’s team of four uses a combination of data analysis and market research techniques to provide all-important information about donors, identify major trends in blood collection and demand. “Blood donors and blood are a precious resource,” says department head Crispin

Wickenden. “Over the years medical advances have increased the demand for blood. Unfortunately the number of people donating seems to be levelling off, therefore we have to do as much as we can to ensure that the donors we have continue to give their much needed support.” He adds, “We are working to understand the type of people who become donors, and how their pattern of donation changes over time…In all of this the needs of the patient and the safety of the donor are paramount.”

Find out where to give blood visit www.blood.co.uk

0845 7 711 711 or visit our Website at www.blood.co.uk to find out details of alternative local blood donor sessions in your area. Our Donor Helpline is available 24 hours a day, where experienced operators are there to assist you. As a valued donor we do not want to lose your support, so please let us know if you are moving, or your personal details have changed. That way your records will always be accurate. All calls are charged at local call rate.

Please note that the permanent blood donor centres will not deal with general enquiries or concerns, the number to ring for any information or concerns is the National Donor Helpline on 0845 7 711 711.

Permanent Blood Donor Sites LONDON Edgware Deansbrook Road Clinic, Edgware HA8 9BD Tel: 020 8732 5460

Sheffield

MIDLANDS Birmingham

Cathedral Court, Church Street, Sheffield S1 1NW Tel: 0114 203 4700

Cambridge

65 New Street, Birmingham B2 4DH Tel: 0121 253 8220

Leicester

Tooting

84 Vaughan Way, Leicester LE1 4SJ Tel: 0116 262 6238

75 Cranmer Terrace, Tooting, SW17 0RB Tel: 020 8258 8368

NORTH WEST Lancaster

West End

PO Box 111, Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Ashton Road, Lancaster, LA1 4GT Tel: 01524 306250

Castle House, Castle Boulevard, Nottingham NG7 1FR Tel: 0115 958 9588

Liverpool Lord Street, Liverpool L2 1TS Tel: 0151 551 8889

John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford, OX3 9DU Tel: 01865 447939

Manchester

Stoke-on- Trent

Plymouth Grove, Manchester M13 9LL Tel: 0161 251 4218

Belmont Road,Etruria (Adjacent Etruria Park) Stoke-on-Trent ST1 4BT Tel: 01782284600

26 Margaret Street, W1N 7LB Tel: 020 7301 6900

NORTH EAST Bradford Rawson Road(Behind John Street Market), Bradford BD1 3SH Tel: 0113 2148653

Leeds Bridle Path, Leeds LS15 7TW Tel: 0113 214 8653 9, St Paul's Street, Leeds LS1 2JG Tel: 0113 2148653

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Holland Drive, Newcastle NE2 4NQ Tel: 0191 219 4405

Brentwood Crescent Drive, Brentwood, Essex, CM15 8DP Tel: 01277 306133

Nottingham

Oxford

Manchester City Norfolk House, (behind Tesco Metro) corner of Brown Street & Norfolk Street, Manchester M2 1DW Tel: 0161 251 5100

SOUTH EAST Luton

SURNAME

are not a donor, fill out the coupon, place it

Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss

in an envelope and send it to National Blood

FIRST NAME

Service, FREEPOST, 75 Cranmer Terrace,

DATE OF BIRTH

/

SOUTH WEST Bristol Grounds of Southmead Hospital, Southmead Road, Bristol, BS10 5ND Tel: 0117 991 2040

Gloucester 59 London Road, Gloucester GL1 3HF Tel: 01452 361800

Plymouth Derriford Hospital, Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8DH Tel: 01752 617815

Southampton

St Georges Square, Bridge Street, Luton LU1 2NF Tel: 01582 681 900

We always need new donors. So please, if you

London SW17 7YB, or call 0845 7 711 711

Long Road, Cambridge, CB2 2PT Tel: 01223 548001

Coxford Road, Southampton SO16 5AF Tel: 023 8029 6708

/

ADDRESS

now to enrol as a blood donor.

Register with us on the Web Enrol now and keep in touch the hi-tech way, via our Website. The address is

www.blood.co.uk

POSTCODE DAYTIME PHONE No

To give blood you need to be in good health, aged 17-60 and weigh over 7st 12lbs.

Don’t forget the new number 0845 7 711 711

MO6

THE DONOR SPRING 2001

15


NEWS EXTRA Nigel Rogoff (right) with Ian Sherrington from Glenmore Lodge, on a training run close to Kessock Bridge, Inverness

When a parachute stunt went wrong, Nigel Rogoff needed 120 pints of blood to save his life. Two years on, he is planning a rather unusual trip to raise the profile of the NBS and help recruit more donors

U

ntil December 13th 1998, I had been a professional skydiving instructor and international competitor. On that day I had dressed up as Santa Claus to carry out a parachute demonstration for the fans at the Aston Villa v Arsenal game. But my performance didn’t quite go according to plan. Apparently (I can’t remember what happened) on approach to the Trinity Park Stand at Villa Park, I bounced off the roof and impacted close to the players’ tunnel. The match was held up for 20 minutes while I was taken off to hospital where I was given a 50/50 chance of survival. Somehow I pulled through, with the help of expert medical care and 120 pints of blood from the Birmingham Blood

16 THE DONOR

WINTER 2000

Bank, but several months later I had to have my left leg amputated.

“The plan is to complete the 3000-mile journey in summer 2002” Since my accident I’ve become very interested in the NBS. Like most people I didn’t know much about them until I needed them. Now I’m hoping to raise the profile of the NBS with an ‘Around Britain Canoe Team Challenge’ (ABC Challenge). I used to run marathons, but I wanted to do

something really difficult! The plan is to circumnavigate the UK by sea in one-man kayaks with my friend David Abrutat, whom I met in rehabilitation after my amputation. Like me, David had received large quantities of blood, in his case after a serious road traffic accident, and he was a keen as me to give something back to the NBS. The plan is to complete the 3000-mile journey (in a challenging 90-day window) in summer 2002. An offshore vessel will carry a crew and support team so we can eat, rest and shelter if necessary, at sea without needing to come ashore every day. We will be coming ashore at intervals for publicity opportunities, and we’re hoping that an NBS blood mobile can shadow our journey on land too. As far as we know no one has circumnavigated the UK in a canoe before – Ireland yes, but not the UK – but we are checking that. We are actively looking for sponsors, and have already managed to find an IT sponsor. Ideally we would like to be

Want to help or get involved either as a team player or potential sponsor? Send an email to ABCChallenge@aol.com or write to ABC Team Challenge, Jura, HR2 9JA where the project team will consider all enquiries.

REMEMBER We need to collect 10,000 units a day every day, so please get along and give now.

NICK DIGGORY

“This is my way of thanking the NBS”

able to charter a vessel and crew which the sponsor would pay for. There may even be a large organisation out there with a vessel we could use. We’ll be undergoing special training of course for this challenge, because although I have done quite a bit of canoeing, sea kayaking is quite tricky because of the tides and the weather. Our support team will know their way around the UK coast and be able to advise us on tides, weather conditions and so on. The whole project has been driven by my experience as a survivor and now as an amputee. My life has changed a great deal since the accident. Now, as my Royal Air Force career regrettably draws to an end and I look forward to becoming a father (twins!) for the first time in spring, I hope I can give a little something back. You can’t give money to the NBS but you can encourage people to donate blood, which is what we hope to achieve.

Don’t forget the new number 0845 7 711 711

The Donor - Spring 2001  

It’s a miracle - New ante-natal life saving technology. Thanks to you - Look out for our new award scheme. MAKING DONORS HAPPY - How our don...