N OU S 0 Y N R O BE SSI M E E M DS RE FIN N CA
65 4 XP A EF E 2C C BB
NEWS AND INFORMATION FROM THE NATIONAL BLOOD SERVICE
SPRING 2002 • FREE
Keeping good company Company donor sessions show the way
The incredible journey What happens to that blood once it’s left your arm
CHANGES FOR THE BETTER
Plain sailing for Andrew
Good news from the Donation Review
WELCOME & CONTENTS Hello again, and welcome to the fourth issue of The Donor. In this issue we’re updating you on The Donation Review – the changes you can look forward to, and when to expect them (pages 8 & 9). We hope you’ll agree that the new donation process will be a great improvement for everyone involved. Making it easier for donors to give blood is one of our main aims. But we know you’d like to find out more about where your blood goes and the patients who receive it, so in this issue you can read about both. You’ll find the stories of young Andrew and baby Katelin on pages 3 and 16, both of whom owe their lives to blood donors. And on page 11 there’s a fascinating look at what happens to your blood once it’s left your arm! Giving blood is one thing, but donating bone marrow is a rather more complicated process. If you’re interested in becoming a bone marrow donor – and there’s a shortage of volunteers for these life-saving donations – turn to page 14 for the funny and poignant account of one person’s experience as a bone marrow donor. Finally, we hope very much that no one is now getting extra copies of The Donor sent to their home. It has taken considerable effort to “de-duplicate” addresses (read how we did it on page 4) but if you’re still experiencing problems, do please contact us on 0845 7 711 711. Enjoy this issue, and keep your letters coming in.
In this Spring issue
It’s looking good pages 8/9
A perfect match page 14
3 NEWS FEATURE & NEWS Latest news and stories from blood donors and recipients across the country
6 CAMPAIGN NEWS Find out about the latest national campaign from around the UK
7 MAKING A DIFFERENCE – NEAR YOU As well as national campaigns, local advertising and promotion plays a key role in getting donors to attend sessions
8 CHANGES FOR THE BETTER After more successful trials, we’re confident the new donation process will make sessions better for everyone
10 KEEPING GOOD COMPANY How companies like Ford are making a real difference to blood donation
11 THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY Everything you ever wanted to know about what happens to your donated blood
12 OVER TO YOU Catch up with readers’ letters, plus health Q&A’s and webwatch
13 MY LIFE …SESSION PLANNING We go behind the scenes and find out how sessions are planned
14 A PERFECT MATCH One man’s life saving story
15 THE INFORMATION CENTRE Where to contact us for your donor queries
16 MIRACLE BABY
Carlene Dias Editor
She almost died at birth, but thanks to an emergency transfusion, baby Katelin is now thriving
GOT SOMETHING TO SAY? We welcome your personal stories, questions and comments. Write to Carlene Dias, The Editor, The Donor, National Blood Service, Holland Drive, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 4NQ. Or contact us via our Website, where you can also find out more about the National Blood Service. The address is www.blood.co.uk The National Blood Service is run by The National Blood Authority which is a Special Health Authority within the National Health Service
2 THE DONOR
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, writing, subbing, art direction, design and production Keith Hodgson, Hilary Joseph, Nikki Racklin at Ant Creative (020 7609 6955). Reproduction – LDPG (London). 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
NEWS FEATURE Today he’s a happy 11 year old who loves to sail. But as a toddler, Andrew Bardsley developed leukaemia and nearly died. It was doctors - and donors - who helped saved him
Andrew is hoping for the all clear, meanwhile it’s time to go sailing with his brothers and sister
which stopped him becoming anaemic. Overall, Andrew has received blood products from more than 200 blood donors.
Autologous transplant After his last course of chemotherapy, Andrew had a bone marrow transplant. Because there was no match for Andrew, the only option was for him to have an autologous bone marrow transplant. This involved extracting his own marrow, cleaning it of cancerous cells, and then returning it to him. Andrew now has a sister, Felicity, and she is a perfect tissue match for her older brother. Delia has had blood from her daughter’s umbilical cord stored so if Andrew were to ever relapse, stem cells from his sister could be used to help him fight cancer. The family now live in Suffolk, where Antony runs a bookshop. Family and friends and the medical
he first clue that Andrew was ill came when he was 18 months old. “He became very clingy, and started to have tantrums,” says his mother Delia. “I knew it was more than teething, so I took him to the GP.” She referred him directly to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, where he was admitted two days later for observation. Blood tests were done, but everything seemed normal. One doctor suspected Andrew may have meningitis, and so his spinal fluid was tested. The results were devastating. Andrew had acute myeloblastic leukaemia, a rare and often fatal
Plain sailing for Andrew
the fast-growing cells in the body, leukaemic cells and healthy red blood cells and platelets alike. Following each course of chemotherapy, blood transfusions were given to Andrew. Without these, chemotherapy would have been useless. Andrew spent months in hospital and had over 40 platelet transfusions to help his blood clot, and 20 whole blood transfusions,
form of childhood leukaemia. Delia and her husband Antony were told that Andrew was dangerously ill, his spinal fluid and bone marrow were saturated with leukaemic cells. Without immediate treatment, Andrew had only three to four days to live. If he did pull through the first few days he would still only have a 20 per cent chance of survival.
Andrew, with his family, at their bookshop in Suffolk
Andrew started his first course of chemotherapy on the day of diagnosis.
Essential transfusions Against all odds, Andrew survived. He received five courses of chemotherapy in all during 1992. These drugs work by killing off all
team who treated Andrew are hoping he will get the “all clear” this summer, ten years after his last course of chemotherapy. Delia, who like her husband, is a regular blood donor, says, “ If it weren’t for donors, Andrew simply wouldn’t be alive now. They are marvellous.” ● The NBS is always looking to recruit blood donors as potential bone marrow donors. Ask for details at your next session.
What are stem cells? S
tem cells are found in blood and bone marrow. They can mature into any type of blood cell: red, white or platelets. Some patients with bone marrow disease, such as cancers and leukaemia, can benefit from a stem cell transplant. Doctors remove their diseased bone marrow and then replace it with transplanted stem cells. These then grow a new, healthy population of blood cells. Most commonly, after treatment and when relatively free of the disease, donors will have their own stem cells collected to make the transplant. Alternatively stem cells can be donated, either by a suitable family member or an unrelated volunteer donor who has been matched from a bone marrow donor panel.
Become a bone marrow donor call 0845 7 711 711
THE DONOR SPRING 2002
Panto stars meet VIP’s Why less P is better! T
When Billy met Jordie
oung patients at the children’s ward at Northampton General Hospital were delighted when NBS mascot Billy Blood Drop paid a visit. Many children on the ward had received blood transfusions, and among them was Jordie Graley
s a donor carer at the Sheffield blood donor centre, Julie Taylor knows that every blood donor is a potential lifesaver. But that really hit home in December when donors saved her own father’s life. Brett Taylor, aged 77, received 13 pints of blood after collapsing through internal bleeding. He was so grateful that he wrote this
Emma Lloyd visited the Royal Cornwall Hospital, while Southampton General Hospital welcomed Home and Away star Kate Richie and the cast of Dick Whittington. Peter Pan flew into Sunderland’s Royal Hospital (pictured below), and children in wards in Leicester, Newcastle, Taunton, Yeovil, Cheltenham and Plymouth were also thrilled to meet their local panto stars who helped to cheer them up.
Apheresis Centre in Manchester. Not surprisingly these two best friends and work colleagues call themselves “blood brothers”. Now their efforts have been recognized at an Awards Ceremony at Manchester University where each received a cut glass decanter.
he Donor magazine is sent to over 2 million donors. Sometimes more than one donor lives at an address, and pushing two, three or more copies through one letterbox doesn’t make sense. So, for this issue we have changed the mailing - if more than one donor shares a family name and lives at the same address only one copy will be sent. Who will receive that copy? It’s a random choice from the group of names. Please, when you get your copy, pass it on to other members of your family. If a donor with a different surname also shares your address (perhaps a lodger, or friend) that person will still get a separate copy. Despite our efforts, it is possible that some addresses will still receive multiple copies - or that certain donors, who would prefer to get a personal copy, won’t - perhaps those at shared addresses (hostels, halls of residence for example). If this applies to you please call the donor helpline - 0845 7 711 711 and let us know.
promote MADD. Matt Porter of Leyton Orient said: “I think I speak for both clubs when I say that we are delighted to be part of the National Blood Service campaign. I hope that by promoting positive awareness of giving blood, it will encourage new donors and help save lives.” In the UK about 700 people suffer from
Thalassaemia and 12,000 from Sickle Cell Anaemia. Both conditions often require blood transfusions. Because of minor differences between the blood groups of various races, patients may create antibodies to all donations except from their own ethnic group, hence the need to attract donors from all sections of the community.
(pictured above) who’s had chemotherapy for a condition known as acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Jordie, aged 5, needed three blood and three platelet transfusions, which were vital in helping her cope with the intensive therapy she received to fight the leukaemia.
Brett says thank you A
antomime stars met VIP’s (Very Important Patients) at children’s wards around the country at the end of last year. Comedy duo Cannon and Ball met patients at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham and local favourite Bobby Knutt dropped in at the Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Hospital with the other stars of Cinderella. Musician Rick Wakeman and BBC Radio Cornwall’s
letter from his hospital bed to the Sheffield blood donor centre to say thank you. “Dozens of people from all walks of life came together to save my life. Among those were you, the blood donors, who unselfishly give the greatest chance one can give to another - the chance to survive. Many, many thanks for your precious gifts.”
Blood Brothers P latelet donors Stefan Wolosiansky and Phil Hampton are two truly amazing lifesavers who have clocked up more than 1000 donations between them – in less than 12 years. Stefan has made 523 platelet donations and Phil 502 at the Plymouth Grove
What a difference a day makes! F
ootball and rugby fans helped the NBS celebrate Make A Difference Day (MADD) with some fabulous fun in the South East and West. MADD is an annual day of community action which highlights how volunteers really can make a difference. The NBS was keen to use the day as a way of thanking all
4 THE DONOR SPRING 2002
loyal blood donors, as well as encouraging more people to become donors. The players at Bristol Rovers FC (pictured right) showed off some fancy footwork during a special fun day at the Memorial Stadium which also featured fair ground rides, games, clown shows and face painting.
Players from Gloucester RFC (pictured below left) supported the Kingsholm donation session. Back at their stadium Billy Blood Drop dropped in to see fans during their Saturday match. At half time Billy released 80 balloons to mark the number of units of blood that need to be collected in Gloucester each day. Local schools helped recruit new donors and after Gloucester secured a convincing win, fans were feeling generous which meant the NBS recruited 150 new donors! Leyton Orient Football Club and Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club teamed up with the NBS and the Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Association of Counsellors (STAC) to
You can find session details on BBC2 Ceefax page 465
NEWS Get me to the session on time!
ark and Elizabeth Randles from Crewe in Cheshire showed rare dedication as donors last August. They decided to go straight from their wedding reception to a donor session! The couple had both received an invitation to donate on the same day as their wedding. Elizabeth, a staff nurse, knows how vital
below) from Louth in Lincolnshire are another dedicated pair. Together they have donated a remarkable 1065 units of blood and plasma – over 500 donations each. Now, both have been presented with the NBS Decanter to mark these milestones. Jack made his first donation in 1951 during his
Pay up - or the teddy gets it! A
s part of Children in Need Day, staff at the Tooting Centre declared it an offence to leave a teddy at home without supervision. To cope with the expected influx of bears, the centre created a teddy bears crèche in the Session Planning department. Soon staff were busy ministering strong doses of TLC to over 80 teddies. But there was panic when a surprise bear-napping raid was mounted. A militant ‘Donor Suite’ group claimed responsibility and demanded a
£2 ransom for the safe return of each bear. Luckily all teddies were returned safely, and a total of £240 was raised.
SCREENWATCH News of the NBS on TV
Coronation Street LOUTH LEADER
Blood donation was a key story in a recent episode of Coronation Street.
blood is and so the newly weds didn’t hesitate – they went along to the Alexandria Suite at Crewe FC where the NBS team ensured that they could donate side by side. Husband and wife Jack and Janice Holmes (pictured
RAF service, and his last – the 541st - just before his 70th birthday last September. Janice, whose total stands at 524, is still an active donor and aims to equal her husband’s achievement before she retires as a donor.
Satellite hit squads T
he NBS sometimes has trouble holding sessions, in areas that lack large halls. And although hundreds of sessions take place at the workplace, only companies with a minimum of 400 employees can guarantee a ‘day’s worth’ of blood. The NBS is tackling these
problems with a pioneering new technique, successfully piloted in Brighton and Bath. A three person team will use a small room in a company building, containing three beds. This mini ‘satellite’ team will provide a 20+ unit top up to the ‘mother team’s’ daily collection figures.
A first for Lincolnshire
ne of TV’s most famous baddies turned over a new leaf when he helped launch the NBS’s first Lincolnshire based donor team recently. Previously, Sheffield teams made the trip across to collect blood. The new team will allow the NBS to collect more
from sessions across the county. Christopher Chittell, who plays Eric Pollard in Emmerdale, also donated at the session in Horncastle. He said, “Normally getting anything out of Eric is like getting blood out of a stone, so this is a coup for the NBS!”
Awards are go..........
n 14th January 2002, the new national awards policy was launched. Now, regardless of where you donate you will receive the same awards at the same
Vinnie and Carole donated their acting fees to the NSPCC and Save the Children.
milestone donation. Initial feed back from donors has been positive. Donors seem to particularly like the new badges and pen.
day, returned to the Tooting Centre with a much fuller appreciation of the professionalism that goes into making a TV programme. Thanks to the actors who posed for pictures, and to LWT who donated £50 to the Sickle Cell Society. The episode certainly shows a cheeky side to blood donation!
A&E Granada contacted the NBS who were happy to provide a mini Mobile Donor Unit. Two staff, Vinnie Moulin and Carole Hynes, from Manchester’s blood collection teams, were extras on set for the filming. The Street’s Nurse Molly and Doctor Matt (Jackie Kington and Stephen Beckett) were key characters in the scene and took great interest in blood donation. During a break in filming, musician Midge Ure (pictured above centre) came for a tour of the Coronation Street set. Stephen made an appearance on GMTV on the morning of the TV screening. Later he and Jackie came to Norfolk House, Manchester’s Donor Centre to give media interviews. Word perfect on blood facts and figures, they encouraged people to become donors.
Blood donation was one of the stories in London’s Burning, and the NBS was asked by London Weekend Television to help with the story line to make everything realistic. Taking fictitious donations turned out to be a much longer process than in real life. The donation scenes at the fire station, which were expected to last for just three minutes when
More donation drama, this time with the hit medical series Always & Everyone (A&E). The NBS in Manchester were asked if they would take part in an episode and provide a ‘blue light’ delivery vehicle for a scene involving Martin Shaw and Connor McIntyre, pictured below with transport manager Bernard Allen, in the car. A character is attacked and urgently needs many units of blood. The hospital runs out
screened, took a remarkable seven hours to film. Keith Gould, donor attendant and NBS technical advisor for the
and has to call the NBS for more supplies, so an emergency ‘blue light’ delivery is duly dispatched.
Don’t forget the Helpline number 0845 7 711 711
THE DONOR SPRING 2002
Getting there... with a little help ‘It doesn't matter how you get there, please get there any way you can’. That's the theme of our year-long awareness campaign to promote the need for new and regular blood donors. Donors go to extraordinary lengths to ensure that they don't miss their appointment to save a life. This year we intend to highlight some of the fun, innovative and downright bizarre ways people get to their donation session and encourage others to follow their example. Making sure blood is always available is a serious business, but that's not to say
that you can't have fun while you are saving lives! November 26th 2001 saw TV Presenter Anneka Rice and the Cuskern's (see back page) launch the campaign. Anneka said: ‘The NBS does a vital job in providing our hospitals with the life saving blood they require. I am hoping that this campaign will raise the profile of the importance of giving blood to ensure patients get the life-saving treatment they need.’ London's Transport Museum provided a traditional red double decker bus for the launch, inviting people to get 'on board' and give blood.
It’s quicker by train
illy was busy hopping on and off trains and trams in Wolverhampton and Birmingham to promote the campaign message. He wasn’t too busy though to meet Virgin Rail staff who had been to donate at Birmingham’s New Street donor centre.
Midlands gets the message
omedian Nick Hancock from BBC’s ‘They Think It’s All Over’ teamed up with NBS mascot Billy Blood Drop to launch the campaign in the Midlands. Nick, a Stoke on Trent lad, visited Ward 110 of North Staffordshire Hospital and soon had the young patients there in different kinds of stitches. Nick, whose own children were born at the hospital, delighted everyone with his jokes and antics. The media soon picked up the story, and Nick gave a series of newspaper, radio and TV interviews, where he showed an impressive knowledge of blood. Thanks to him the campaign message to give blood regularly has well and truly reached the Midlands!
IN BRIEF Paddling his own canoe
illy, pictured here on Ardingly Reservoir, Haywards Heath, demonstrates how far he’ll go just to ensure he doesn’t miss his next session. With floods becoming almost an annual feature in many parts of the country,
Billy is taking no chances. He said, “It makes a pleasant change to paddle to session. I have recently spoken to my Scottish cousin, Billy McBlood, who mentioned that he was preparing to don his skis to ensure he gets to his next session.”
A funny thing happened on the way to the ferry…
On the right tracks
illy Blood Drop proved that he really does ‘Get there any way he can’ in Blackpool recently when he hitched a ride on one of the town’s old-style trams for a ride along the seafront. Billy was joined by two of Blackpool’s fire fighters, Dane Eastham and Mick Taylor, who took time out of a rescue drill on the famous beach to support the campaign.
6 THE DONOR SPRING 2002
here were a few strange looks when Billy Blood Drop boarded the Red Funnel Ferry, bound for the Isle of Wight. Billy, accompanied by Frostie the Snowman, was on board to promote the new campaign. The NBS is already well known at the ferry terminal. Terminal Officer Kevin Hat said, “ We often see the NBS vehicles on the ferry, transporting blood to and from the island. Events like this bring greater awareness of what the Service does.” Passengers should look out for posters and leaflets on board all Red Funnel ferries.
Getting their skates on
e’re not recommending that all our donors do this but… Staff at the JMC travel company call centre in Bradford got on their roller blades, skateboards and scooters to get to a recent donor session at their offices double quick. It brought a whole new meaning to the campaign message “It doesn’t matter how you get there…” Now in their second year, the sessions are organised by JMC employees Louisa Coggings and Carly Durrans together with the NBS. Total donations made by JMC staff so far are 170 – and many of these are from new donors.
It’s better by bus
illy Blood Drop took an open top bus tour around Oxford to bring shoppers the campaign message. The bus, kindly loaned by Guide Friday Tours of Oxford, was decked out in balloons and banners advertising upcoming donor sessions in the city.
Skegness: Billy Blood Drop dropped into Butlins in Skegness to spread the campaign word and celebrate the park’s first ever blood donor session. He felt right at home among those Redcoats! Liverpool: From pints of milk to pints of blood Tommy Callagher, Express Dairies city centre milkman, is helping to support the NBS campaign with posters on his float advertising the blood donor centre on Lord Street in Liverpool. He’s also handing out leaflets with the pints. Stockport: Billy Blood Drop took to the stage with Toyah Wilcox and the cast of Aladdin to promote the new campaign and publicise blood donor sessions in the Stockport area. Bristol: Billy strapped on his skis to get across the new campaign message at High Action Avon Ski Centre and Gloucester Ski and Snowboard Centre. Local schoolchildren from St Mary Convent School, Worcester were on hand to pick up the pieces at Gloucester whilst Bristol Grammar School pupils took time out of their ski lesson at Avon Ski Centre to give Billy a few tips.
Find out where to give blood visit www.blood.co.uk
MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS
Making a difference - near you National advertising is important, but NBS teams and volunteers also work hard at local levels to promote the ‘give blood’ message campaigns, mainly using donor, patient and celebrity stories from the area to capture the media interest. Our news pages are full of examples of just such activity. Campaigns such as ‘Please get there…’, (see opposite page) although nationwide, can also
Rakesh Vasishtha (below), from NBS corporate communications, at a local radio station promoting activites in the area
To a lot of people, becoming a blood donor is not top priority. They are often not aware there is a session just down the road from them. So to ensure we are visible locally, we have a whole team of people working hard on the ground to make local communities aware of the ‘give blood’ message. These are the people you see in your local high street recruiting donors, putting up banners, placing exhibition stands in supermarkets, providing posters for shops and attending local fairs and shows. All this couldn’t happen without the
goodwill of the shop owners, companies, sport centres, local councils and others. Supporting this team is the hugely valuable army of willing volunteers who help in whatever way they can. Of course, media coverage is vital to us. Local press, TV and radio, in features or news, all help us to get the message across to the public. Our marketing and communications teams run localised publicity
Looking ahead We are looking forward to an exciting year in 2002. Listen out for the ‘history of blood’ to be broadcast on Radio 4 in the summer. Later in the year we hope to broadcast live on Century fm from a blood donor session. These as well as many other seasonal and special events are being tied up with the ‘Please get there.....’ campaign including the London Marathon, Queens Jubilee, the World Cup, Commonwealth Games, London to Paris Triathlon, Great North Run, Make a Difference Day, University Freshers Fairs and much more. Keep an eye on your local paper for further information. Our local teams are always looking for good blood-related stories, or a helping hand distributing posters and other publicity material. If you would like to help in your local area, then please call the helpline on 0845 7 711 711.
Think local, act local
Campaigns such as ‘Please get there…’, although nationwide, can also make a strong impact at a local level.
skydiving and Dave was paralysed in a road accident. They both owe their lives to blood donors and want to give something back. The launch will take place at Tower Bridge, London in May. Nigel and Dave will travel over 3,000 miles, and before they end up back in London in September, they will have stopped off all around the country, raising awareness as they go - you can’t get more local than that!
It’s good to text!
magine your mobile phone texting you a message to remind you of the date of your next session. Well, we have been testing the idea with students, by text messaging (SMS) those at appointment only sessions at universities and colleges, to remind donors to attend. Initial results indicate that texting has increased the donor attendance by up to 30%. Jenny Kenway, a student at Kent University said “I am always on the go, and my mobile is my lifeline. Now with SMS messaging I can remember to take time out to give blood.” The best way it works is on appointment only sessions, so at the moment it has a limited use. But in the next year or so we hope to develop the system further. Watch this space.
Become a bone marrow donor call 0845 7 711 711
he last thing we can afford to be is complacent about blood donors. That’s why we put so much effort into raising public awareness of the need for blood. Apart from using national TV and radio advertising, there’s also a lot going on behind the scenes to turn potential blood donors into actual ones.
make a strong impact at a local level. Take the ‘Around Britain Challenge’. Nigel Rogoff and Dave Abrutat, both RAF ex-service men, aim to circumnavigate mainland Britain by kayak and handcycle, and attract 100,000 new blood donors into the bargain. Nigel lost a leg when he injured himself
THE DONOR SPRING 2002
THE DONATION REVIEW
THE DONATION REVIEW
Thumbs up for new process We are delighted to report that these experts mentioned above gave the new process the thumbs
Left: Sending out the health check form to be filled in before your session, will save time for donor and staff
instructions will accompany the form to allow you to complete the paperwork in peace and quiet at home. Remember, if you complete it at home you won’t have to register at session. If you forget the health check, or lose it, we can give you another form and offer assistance at the session. But this may slow things down for you. This change means many blood collection teams will be able to fast track regular donors by streaming
It’s Looking Good Donors can look forward to shorter waiting times as we roll out our new speedier donation process, starting this summer. Watch out for health check forms coming to you by post before your sessions – and other time-saving innovations
What do you think?
Elemay Parkes, a regular donor at the Birmingham New Street NBS centre, is impressed by the review. “Having the health check sent out early is a good idea. It will save time, and is a good way for the NBS to communicate with donors. I prefer the bed rest though – it’s nice to get that little break before going back to work! However, I know some people don’t want to rest, so it will be nice to have the choice. I do think the staff are more helpful and attentive – they’re very friendly, and sometimes they bring me the cup of tea.” Alice Arnold, a staff nurse at the Coventry team, is also impressed. “Management have really listened to staff and donors, and the changes are very positive. Donors are pleased because they are in and out more quickly. We’re pleased because we aren’t getting complaints about waiting times.”
8 THE DONOR
up after attending our two live sessions in October in Rugby and Worcester. Almost all donors at the trials (97%) thought the new process was a definite improvement. The changes, which we will be starting to introduce from this summer, include ● sending the health check paperwork to you before your session ● fast tracking regular donors through the system ● working towards ending enforced resting periods for regular donors ● even improving refreshments! Obviously we want you, the donors, to feel the benefits of the new donation process as soon as possible.
The health check form A health check form will start to arrive by post from July along with your invitation to donate letter. Full
You can find session details on BBC2 Ceefax page 465
The health check form will start to arrive by post from July along with your invitation to donate letter
e held live trial sessions last autumn in Worcester and Rugby and invited donors to take part and comment on the new donation process. Feedback, of course, was vital. We asked all donors to fill in questionnaires before they left the session to tell us what they thought of everything – from reception to tea. Here’s a selection of the comments staff and donors made: “Sending the health check questionnaire home works. In four days of health screening I have not come across one mistake.” “I appreciated filling in the health check at home. It was quiet and I had time to do it, rather than rushing at the session.”
them separately from new donors by the end of the summer. We hope to have most of our teams working in this way by the end of the year. Working towards reducing enforced resting periods for regular donors we are examining if you really need to rest on the bed after your donation. If these trials are successful and pass our tough clinical requirements, we are hoping that, after donation and providing you feel fine, you will be able to jump off the bed and have your cup of tea immediately.
Top: The trial in progress at Worcester. Above: Tracy Wright, NBS Senior HR Manager, gave her first donation at the session, pictured with Dr Michelle Collins, Quality Assurance Manager, who is on the validating team. Right: The aim is to make it quicker for donors to get their tea and biscuits! Below (and cover): Ron Phillips, who donated at the live session, with Lisa Cornett who was also there
Let them eat... what? The next stage will allow our teams to make even more improvements to our sessions, by looking at refreshments and the broader session environment. In fact, we’ve been busy investigating what kinds of refreshments donors prefer – within our budget limits naturally. At the live trials last year we found some interesting variations: over in Worcester donors had a bit of a leaning for lemon puffs – stock vanished on the first day. In Rugby chocolate bars were the donors’ top choice. Clearly we need more extensive tasting sessions – well, it’s a tough job but someone has to do it. We will report in due course!
Going live! “The first donation started eight minutes after the session opened. That’s great!” “The team worked really well. Every one is joining in.” “Some donors filled out the health check in blue ink. When we post it out we need to make it clear it must be filled out in black ink.”
s you are probably aware we recently began a top-to-bottom review of the way blood is collected. This Donation Review, as we call it, is one part of a huge modernisation programme aimed at improving the NBS service to you and reducing waiting times in particular. As donors, you can look forward to a generally more efficient and pleasant service. “About time too” you may be thinking, but it is not just maintaining the clinical care of you, the donor, that is important. We have had our own team of quality experts and external inspectors continually monitoring and testing these proposed changes, to ensure the new process complies with safety guidelines. Safe for donors, safe for patients. Changes to our blood collection programme require full approval from our various regulators and comprehensive training in the new procedures for all our staff across the country. That is why these changes couldn’t happen overnight. Now, after extensive trials and much consultation, checking and testing, we’re ready to start rolling out the new process.
Veteran donor Ron Phillips (pictured left and on the cover) says he couldn’t believe how quick the live trial session in Rugby was. “I was in and out in 30 minutes, perhaps less. I didn’t sit down at all until the coffee! There was no waiting behind people while forms were filled in, I just moved quickly from stage to stage. The longest part was the actual donation! I liked a couple of other changes too and the refreshments seemed to have been improved – there was more choice.“ Lisa Cornett (pictured left with Ron Phillips), an NBS training officer who worked at the live sessions said, “I felt it went really well, I think it will make a difference to the way I work. I am looking forward to when it gets put into practice throughout the country.”
Don’t forget the Helpline number 0845 7 711 711
THE DONOR SPRING 2002
COMPANY DONOR SESSIONS A recent company session at Ford, organised by NBS’s Nicki Scott (left) and Ford’s Andy Taylor collected blood and raised bone marrow donation awareness
Going along to your local donor centre needn’t be the only place to donate blood. Britain’s workforce is also being directly targeted by the NBS
Helping local stocks ‘For example, Airbus UK allow us to come to their site at Broughton near Chester three times a year, for four days at a time. ‘At their sessions we’ve had over a hundred donors a day, which means that over the last year they’ve donated 1271 units – that’s enough to supply the local Countess of Chester hospital for two months! She added, ‘We rely on companies letting their employees
he NBS are organising highly successful regular company donor sessions, with the active involvement of participating companies, or ‘partners’. Penny Richardson at the NBS explains, ‘There are different approaches to company sessions. In many cases we are able to hold a session on the company’s premises. If this is not possible we can arrange for the donors to attend a session nearby, or in some areas we can use our mobile donating unit. Commonly known as the ‘bloodmobile’, these units, which are specially built, are used now in many parts of the country.’
In good company have time away from their jobs to donate. This does actually benefit the company too, as it encourages a community spirit and staff satisfaction. We call it a partnership – we’re working together to save lives.’ Penny describes some of the different sectors which research has proven are better (or worse) at donating. ‘Local government workers and national government employees are amongst our most regular donors – the taxman is always very good! On the flip side,
people in marketing and sales are least likely to be donors.’ Needless to say, Penny is more than willing for past research to be proved wrong. Companies who are partners include Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars Ltd, Marconi plc, Glaxo Wellcome plc, Barclays Bank and Ford Motor Company.
One step further The Ford Motor Company hold blood donor sessions at their
The “Mini Mobile” (pictured right) is one of our new fleet of small, self contained, 3 bed units capable of collecting 40 donations per day. The vehicles were introduced last year to enable us to visit areas where it had not been possible to hold a donor session before. They have been very successful at company sessions and proved to be a hit at Retail Parks in December, with donors dropping in for a break from Christmas shopping. In future we intend to open the doors to weekend shoppers and visitors to local shows and events. Feedback so far is all good. Donors love them, staff enjoy working on them, and they are so convenient – so look out for one near you!
emailed and an exhibition stand was used for maximum impact. During the session itself, leaflets were distributed to those interested in becoming a bone marrow donor in addition to making blood donations. The effort was definitely well worth it. On the first day 123 people attended and of these 105 gave blood. On day two the turnout was only slightly lower at 112. So a two day session turned out to be well worth all the extra hard work.
Reaching the parts
10 THE DONOR
Warley site three times a year. This October, however, staff decided to go one step further as one of the workers was found to be suffering from leukaemia. Andy Taylor, Director of Corporate Citizenship in Europe for Ford, contacted Nicki Scott, at NBS Brentwood, about the bone marrow registry, and how Ford could help. Despite a tight schedule, the NBS responded by turning the standard October session into a two-day event. Extra publicity meant the session was an outstanding success. Extra posters were displayed throughout the building, leaflets were handed out, employees were
Companies can encourage their staff to get involved using imaginative methods such as: ● wage packet attachments ● posters & leafleting ● visits by NBS marketing staff ● internal email campaigns ● screen savers ● website links ● freshly baked cookies for donors throughout the day!
The Mini Mobile, seen recently in Coronation Street
If your company would like to get involved in company donor sessions, call 0845 7 711 711 now for more details.
Find out about company sessions call 0845 7 711 711
WHERE DOES YOUR BLOOD GO?
The incredible journey T
Once it’s bagged and labelled, what happens next to that 450ml of blood you’ve just donated? The answer is, a surprising amount
here’s a complex journey ahead for that unit of blood – and the three samples that accompany it. First everything is bar-coded with its own worldwide unique donation number. Using this number, ‘Pulse’, the NBS computer system, keeps track of each unit of blood and its samples as they are processed and tested. Everything can be linked, via the barcode, back to the donor and his or her donation records.
room and larger, keep the red cells fresh for up to 35 days, while plasma is stored in freezers at below –30ºC for up to one year. Platelets are stored at 20ºC and kept moving on special agitators to prevent clotting. They are used within five days of donation. From there, blood is sent on to local hospitals, or further afield if another area of the country needs
“The label is the final seal of approval, a safety guarantee,” says Phil Nuttall, Processing, Testing and Issue manager
One unit – three products
it. Trained drivers can “blue light” blood fast from a blood bank to a hospital. The most amazing thing is how many people can be helped by donated blood. “At Sheffield we process about 230,00 units a year,” says Phil Nuttall, “and from this we can make up to half a million blood products.”
cells out of the bottom, and plasma out of the top, into separate packs. The platelets remain behind.
Phil Nuttall: up to half a million blood products can be produced from the units processed in Sheffield
Testing, testing, testing
samples into huge computercontrolled, automated machines, which identify blood groups and antibodies, and test for HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis B and C. (Positives for these are extremely rare.) You may be surprised to learn that every time you donate blood, the blood group is tested and checked against your record.
What’s been happening to those three samples we mentioned? While the packs are processed, staff in the centre’s testing laboratories load the
How your donation is used From your 450ml bag of blood we can prepare ● CONCENTRATED RED BLOOD CELLS – vital for treating severely anaemic patients, accident victims, and patients undergoing major operations ● PLATELETS – used to stop or prevent bleeding in patients with leukaemia or those undergoing aggressive chemotherapy or massive blood transfusions ● FRESH-FROZEN PLASMA – used after childbirth, during cardiac surgery, and to reverse anticoagulant treatment. Also important for patients undergoing massive transfusions. When a rare donated blood type is identified, it’s prepared to provide an “off the shelf” supply of products for patients who need it. Typically these patients may have had many blood transfusions, or had multiple pregnancies, and developed rare antibodies which makes most donated blood unsuitable for them.
HEAD FOR HEIGHTS If all the empty blood packs used each year were stacked on top of each other, the height would be 7.5 miles – taller than Mount Everest.
The final stage Only when all processing and testing is complete and the results fed into ‘Pulse’ and cross-checked, is a label issued to the blood products. “The label is the final seal of approval, a safety guarantee,” says Phil Nuttall, Processing, Testing and Issue manager at Sheffield NBS Centre. Once labelled, the products enter the Centre’s blood bank. Here fridges, the size of an average living
Next, the blood heads for one of the ten National Blood Service (NBS) Centres which handle testing and processing of blood collected in England and North Wales. Most packs are processed to make vital blood products, but a small proportion are set aside as whole blood for patients who need it. All blood, though, undergoes leucodepletion. The blood passes through the diamond-shaped filter that you may have noticed on your blood pack. This reduces the number of white cells, making blood safer for recipients. Next, centrifuges spin the blood, still in its pack, at 3900 rpm. The tremendous force separates the blood into three layers – red cells, platelets, and plasma (see box for how the products are used). Then the pack is put into a special machine, which forces red
You can find session details on BBC2 Ceefax page 465
THE DONOR SPRING 2002
OVER TO YOU 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, Holland Drive, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 4NQ. Good advice
please tell me why this is?
I have to thank the blood donor sessions for my health. I had been suffering from very bad health for some years, but was still able to give blood. At one session I was sent away because my haemoglobin was very low and advised to see a doctor, which I did. The diagnosis was that I have Coeliac disease and now with much improved health I am giving blood again.
TINA SEATON BRISTOL
J D BRINKMAN GILLINGHAM, KENT
Editor’s Response We’re pleased to hear that your health is much improved and with your Coeliac disease controlled by a gluten free diet, are able to donate again.
For example, herbal teas, unsalted nuts and raisins or something similar.
Editor’s Response I would like to clarify that in conjunction with Rebecca Taylor’s medical team, her family made the decision not to put her forward for a Bone Marrow Transplant. This decision was not made because she has Downs Syndrome, but after taking into consideration all her medical complaints and the probable prognosis. I would like to apologise if anyone was misled by this article.
LESLEY CAUSTON EAST BARNET
Could you please put this advert for donors I have made in your magazine. I got the idea to do this from your brilliant magazine.
I would like to suggest that ‘healthy option’ snacks are included amongst the refreshments provided at donor sessions.
The article about Rebecca Taylor on page 14 of the Autumn edition states “because of her Down’s Syndrome, Rebecca cannot have a bone marrow transplant like other leukaemia sufferers.” Can you
BELLY-BUSTERS What’s Billy’s favourite ice cream? Veinilla!!
IS IT TRUE THAT...
Young and gifted
THOMAS WATSON (AGED 6) HEMEL HEMPSTEAD
Garden memorial My late father John Edward ‘Eddie’ sadly died last February, having been a donor for many years, giving
in excess of 60 units. My mother decided to ask that rather than send flowers, a donation should be given to the NBS and to be collected by Dr Chapman. Dr Chapman, in turn, proposed the construction of a quiet garden in the grounds of the Newcastle NBS headquarters, which was very appropriate as my father was a keen gardener. So it was in August my mother and extended family accepted an invitation to the new garden, which also coincided with a visit by my sister and family from the USA. Our family spent a very pleasant and moving time at the new garden and were made to feel very welcome by the staff. The garden was all we could have imagined, and we understand offers a quiet place for reflection for staff and donors alike. IAN MALAUGH BOVINGDON, HERTS Due to shortage of space not all published letters are printed 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.
We answer some of your questions about donating
I’ve just had a vaccination, can I still give blood? You must wait for 4 weeks following a vaccination with a live vaccine. If the vaccine used was killed, then as long as you are feeling well, you can donate right away. I’ve just found out I’m pregnant, can I still donate? No, whilst you’re pregnant and for 12 months after your baby is born you will not be allowed to give blood. If you contact our Helpline we can make a note on your record to invite you to donate again once the 12 month period is over. I’m a regular blood donor, can I be a platelet donor? Yes, you could be eligible to be a platelet donor, if you are blood group O or A, aged between 18 – 60, weigh more than 60kg (9st 7lb) and have a high enough
platelet count. Ask at your next blood donor session for a sample to be taken for testing and they will let you know from the results. I suffer from hayfever every summer, should I stop donating? As long as you feel fit and well on the day of the session you should be able to donate, even if you have taken medication to relieve your symptoms. Our Helpline or the staff at the donor session will be happy to advise you. My son has got chicken pox, I gave blood last week what should I do? If you become unwell in the 2 weeks following your donation, or discover you have recently been in contact with an infectious disease other than a simple cold or 'flu' please let us know by calling the helpline on 08457 711 711
Our apologies for issuing the incorrect telephone number for enquiries about Thalassaemia on the back page of the last edition of 'The Donor'. The help-line number for UK Thalassaemia Society is 020 8882 0011.
12 THE DONOR
Ever wondered how much blood we have in stock? It's easy, just visit our web site www.blood.co.uk. On each page of the site there is an icon on the right hand side with the words 'current blood stocks'. Click on this icon and up pops a bar graph with our national stock levels displayed in 'number of units' (a unit is just under a pint of blood). You can also see 'days supply' for each blood group and some line graphs displaying recent historical data. This information is updated every day.
Find where to give blood visit www.blood.co.uk
MY LIFE: John Coburn SESSION PLANNING MANAGER FOR ANGLIA
The session must go on Organising a donor session is a complex business. There are the venues to book, the collection teams to organise, not to mention contacting all the donors. We meet one of the session planners
f you consider that there are five and a half thousand venues all around the country and about a hundred sessions per day, not to mention ever-changing requirements for amounts of blood and specific blood groups, then you realise that there's something of a juggling act to be done! Will enough people turn up - or will there be too many donors? Can the hall cope with the numbers? How will the new TV adverts affect numbers? (No one enjoys standing in a long queue!) John Coburn is the Session Planning Manager for the Anglia region, based at Brentwood, Essex. Every four weeks, session planning managers from around the country meet to discuss such intricate planning and collection issues. Their aim is to try to ensure the smooth running of the sessions for donors and marry that with
collecting the right amount of blood on a weekly basis, to meet the hospitals predicted usage.
John runs through his day
John Coburn, above left, ensures the smooth running of donor sessions and keeps other relevant developments up to date, through regular meetings with other regional planners
"At 7am I make my way to the National Collection Planners meeting in Bradford. I get a phone call informing me the heating system has broken down in the venue we are using for our 1pm session. As it's a bitterly cold day, we need to hire extra heaters and fast! Back at the office hire companies are contacted. Our meeting kicks off at 9am. One of our agenda items is to
discuss the mailing of invitation letters, reminder cards and telephone support for the winter sessions. The NBS has a contract with a mailing house who send out these items of mail for us. We are a large user of the postal service, with over 8.5m invitation letters and 4.5m reminder cards sent out per year, so planning at a national, regional and local level is essential.
Loop is based in the Bradford area and provides ‘telephone support’ for blood donor sessions throughout the country – contacting donors to encourage their attendance at local sessions and to check that sessions are convenient. These telephone reminders are made for good reasons. For example, if a particular session needs extra support, or we’re trying to get increase stocks of a particular blood group, or perhaps we need to inform donors that a venue or opening times have changed. We know many donors do like to be reminded by telephone. However, if you would prefer not to receive a call in the future, just tell our telephone operator next time they phone you or ask at your next session and we will take you off the list.
Supporting local sessions
For example, to get the same amount of donors to turn up at a session, in some areas of the country 500-600 donors are invited, whilst in others only 160 letters are sent. Trying to predict how many to invite, to get it 'just right' has turned into some thing of an art. On this particular day blood stocks levels are of concern. Levels for group 'O' have been steadily falling for some time. We need immediate action to ensure we keep our stocks at an ideal level. We arrange to contact 'O' donors that evening, who are due to give in the next few days, urging them to attend their session, to try to alleviate any shortages of this group around the country. Our meeting moves on to venues. To ensure that a session can take place, we need to book our venues well in advance. This also gives donors as much venue choice as possible. In some cases, this means booking as far ahead as two years. Later that afternoon we visit ‘LOOP’, who provide a call reminder service to donors on behalf of the NBS. We spend some time with the telephone operators listening to the conversations, to hear first hand comments from donors on how to improve our service. We end the day by drawing up action plans for 2002. I wonder what’s in store for tomorrow?
John Coburn checks on out going calls with operators at Loop, to help identify any problems
Don’t forget the Helpline number 0845 7 711 711
By the way, John’s son Sam did the drawing we use on our children’s 'Dad' sticker... spot the likeness? THE DONOR SPRING 2002
Left: Paul, impressed by the care taken when donating bone marrow. Below: At home with his wife Tracey and Megan, one of their three daughters
the hip bones and other long bones. Although chemotherapy can successfully treat some diseases like leukaemia and aplastic anaemia, often the only cure is a bone marrow transplant. For about 30% of patients, a matched donor can be found from within the family. The other 70% have to rely on a volunteer
A perfect match Last May Paul Eden became a bone marrow donor. He was delighted he could make a difference to a seriously ill patient decision, he says. ‘What is a simple bone marrow operation if it means you’re saving someone’s life?’.
What is bone marrow Bone marrow is the tissue from which blood cells are constantly renewed. It’s found in the centre of
Our donors would fill the British Army 16 times over. Sign up with us now and give blood.
14 THE DONOR
‘I didn’t feel a thing during the operation’, says Paul. ‘It was only afterwards that it was uncomfortable – in fact, every time I sat down, it felt like I had a couple of golf balls taped to my backside! After a couple of weeks, the discomfort eased off.’ Paul and his second wife Tracey have been married for nine years. Between them they have three daughters, aged from two and a half to twelve years old. The kids were very intrigued to see Dad’s scars after the op, and were disappointed to discover there were only two small holes! ‘I am proud of being able to have helped someone,’ says Paul. ‘If you ever have the opportunity to donate bone marrow, and are a bit unsure, think of the person at the other end who doesn’t have a choice. Remember, you’ve got the easy role! It’s only three days in hospital out of your life. Yet there is someone out there who is depending on you to save their life.’
FALL IN TROOPS
The chance to live ullying wasn’t causing the bruises on Gavin’s legs. It was far worse than that – the tired, pale seven-year old was suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. His mother Jaz says, “When the doctors first said ‘leukaemia’ I didn’t really think of cancer. It was a massive shock when reality set in”. The treatment was gruelling – in a childhood cancer ward at Southampton General Hospital, Gavin began two years of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It went well, and Gavin went into remission. But then he relapsed, and became so ill that doctors suggested a bone marrow transplant. Gavin’s immediate and extended family were tested for a match, but to no avail. After a three-month wait a non-related donor was found, and Gavin, now 11, had his transplant last November. The family hope Gavin can go back to school in the Spring after his check-up, in the meantime he is brushing up on his snooker skills.
Become a bone marrow donor call 0845 7 711 711
hen Paul Eden’s first wife died from cancer in 1991, aged just 29, Paul was eager to help people in similar painful situations, and has been a blood donor ever since. Then, Paul became a bone marrow donor. It was not a hard
donor, identified through The British Bone Marrow Registry (BBMR), a part of the NBS. There are two ways to donate bone marrow; one by removing stem cells from your hip bones under a general anaesthetic; the second involves donating stem cells from the circulating blood, a process which does not require a general anaesthetic. Paul was surprised to find out he was a possible match for a patient.
The first tests, which involved taking two samples of blood for tissue typing, took all of 10 minutes. A medical ensured he was fit for the operation, and a week later, Paul received all the details. He was very impressed with the way the whole process was dealt with. ‘There is no worry about costs - all your expenses and loss of earnings will be paid. Also, you’re constantly asked if you still want to go ahead with the donation. The medical staff need to know that you are fully committed.’
NBS INFORMATION For all your enquiries the Donor Helpline number is
0845 7 711 711 ALL CALLS ARE CHARGED AT LOCAL CALL RATE
If you need any information about giving blood, just call the Donor Helpline and staff will answer your queries on: Where you can give blood locally Whether you are able to give blood Your donor session details Find out about how to become a bone marrow donor • Medical aspects of giving blood • How travelling abroad might affect your giving blood • Any other general donor matters Remember, you can call the Helpline to tell us if you have moved house or changed employers - we don't want to lose you!
• • • •
Our Donor Helpline is open for general enquiries 24 hours a day, every day of the year. DON’T FORGET BBC2 Ceefax page 465 will give you details of the next two days’ blood donor sessions in your TV region.
Permanent Blood Donor Sites 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 Sites. Please call the Donor Helpline to find out the details of the centres listed here: LONDON
Edgware, Tooting, West End
Bradford, Leeds, Sheffield
NORTH EAST Newcastle-upon-Tyne NORTH WEST Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester MIDLANDS & Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham, Oxford, SOUTH Stoke-on-Trent
We can’t afford to lose you! NBS partner, ihavemoved.com are helping donors to let us know of their change of details. Despite our best efforts we still lose touch with about 70,000 donors every year due to change of address, employer or circumstance. By just 'saying it once', blood donors can stay in touch with NBS, and also have the option to nominate other important organisations of their change, free of charge. ihavemoved.com now offers its customers the option to nominate National Blood Service on all change of detail facilities via their site and through third party supporters. We believe that this will not only enable us to keep our loyal blood donors, but also encourage those who may have been thinking about giving blood to get in touch. To register your change of details please visit www.blood.co.uk or www.ihavemoved.com SURNAME Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss FIRST NAME DATE OF BIRTH
SOUTH EAST Luton, Cambridge, Brentwood SOUTH WEST Bristol, Gloucester, Plymouth, Southampton
We always need new donors. So please, if you are not a donor, fill out the coupon opposite, place it in an envelope and send it to National Blood Service, FREEPOST, 75 Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 7YB, or call 0845 7 711 711 now to enrol as a blood donor.
POSTCODE DAYTIME PHONE No
To give blood you need to be in good health, aged 17 to 60 and weigh over 7st 12lbs/50kg. Please send this coupon to the address opposite.
I would like to join the NHS Blood Donor Register as someone who may be contacted and would be prepared to donate blood. I understand that the National Blood Service (NBS) or its partners may phone, write or otherwise contact me with details of local donor sessions. I agree to the NBS holding my personal details on their donor database and processing this information as necessary for the proper administration of the NBS
You can find session details on BBC2 Ceefax page 465
THE DONOR SPRING 2002
Katelin rides again! T
Desperately short of blood after a traumatic birth, everything looked bleak for baby Katelin. But an emergency blood transfusion turned a near tragedy into a happy ending
en months ago Debbie Cuskern and partner Glen Brown arrived at North Tees Hospital. Debbie was in labour, but there were problems. She began to haemorrhage, and a monitor showed that the baby’s heartbeat was too slow. Minutes later there was no heartbeat. It was a race to deliver the baby before she had irreversible brain damage. After a few frantic minutes, the consultant managed to deliver baby Katelin with the help of forceps. But she was not breathing and her colour was lily-white. “She looked like a china doll,” recalls Debbie. A team of medical staff whisked the baby away to the other side of the room to try and resuscitate her. Debbie and Glen looked on helplessly. Debbie says, “The team kept looking at us and shaking their heads. But ten minutes later the doctor looked around and gave us a smile that told us Katelin was alive.” After a very quick assessment, Katelin was found to have only one third of her blood volume. No wonder she looked like a porcelain doll. She also urgently needed a blood transfusion. Debbie held her baby daughter for a moment before she was taken
Amazing recovery Their prayers were answered. Thanks to the hard work of the medical team, and the emergency blood transfusion, baby Katelin is now a healthy 10-month-old little girl who has suffered no brain damage at all. Her consultant was amazed by her recovery, and even cancelled a brain scan. Katelin is now developing at the rate of a normal, healthy child but to Debbie and Glen she is anything but ordinary. She is their little miracle.
Above: Katelin is taken for a spin by Anneka Rice at the London launch of our new national campaign ‘It Doesn’t Matter How You Get There, Just Get There’. The message to donors is to donate regularly. Right: Katelin had a great day out with her parents and older brother Anthony, who says it’s great to have a little sister to tease and play with!
JOIN UP The queue of donors during one year would stretch over 1,000 miles.Yours won’t be anywhere near that long, so go and donate now!
Lend a helping hand
16 THE DONOR
to the hospital’s High Dependency Unit. Debbie and Glen were given a picture of their baby, and told it was touch and go and that the next 48 hours were crucial. The consultant told them that because of the delay in getting Katelin breathing again she would more than likely have some, or possibly even extensive, brain damage. But Debbie and Glen stayed focussed on the fact that their little girl was alive. “We just prayed she would keep fighting,” says Debbie.
We've got a great way for Dads to become truly involved in the miracle of childbirth – and no stretch marks! Whilst your partner carries your growing baby, what can you do to help? Offer sympathy and understanding? Help more with the housework perhaps? It is very simple and very effective, give blood! Each year around 250,000 –
a quarter of a million – units of blood are needed in neonatal, paediatric, obstetric and gynaecological care. As a donor dad, you may still have to do more housework. But as you pack the vacuum cleaner away you'll know that many thousands of families each year owe their health and happiness to men like you. That's really helping.
Having seen how blood saved Katelin, Debbie and Glen wanted to do their bit too. Glen and his sister are now regular blood donors, and although Debbie cannot give blood until Katelin is one, she plans to be first in line at her local donor session when that day comes. Says Debbie,” It is so important for people to know how vital giving blood is and we are eternally grateful to those donors who helped to save Katelin’s life”. ● Read about our ‘Getting There’ campaign on page 6.
Become a bone marrow donor call 0845 7 711 711