Make 2015 a bloody good year – save a life, give blood

Many of us are thinking what we might achieve in 2015: resolving to attain those personal goals. But have you considered resolving to help save a life this year?

Taking the time to donate blood really could help save a life. According to statistics on the Give Blood website, just 4 per cent of the population donate blood, although all of us would expect blood to be there when we need it.

I was the grateful recipient of a blood transfusion in February 2014. I had my son Hugo by emergency Caesarean section when I was just 24 weeks’ pregnant because I had the rare, life threatening pregnancy complications pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome. HELLP stands for Haemolysis (anaemia), Elevated liver enzymes, and Low Platelets.

Platelets are what helps the blood to clot. The normal platelet count for an adult is between 150 and 400 – my platelet count at the time Hugo was born was 54. I lost 1.2 litres of blood (a little more than two pints) during the C-section.

Hugo

Hugo

I was also severely anaemic: normal haemoglobin levels should be between 14 and 20, but mine crashed to just seven.

A transfusion wasn’t immediately given because the loss of a fifth of your body’s blood is considered small, and your body can usually replace the blood itself. However, my body struggled to replace the blood – probably due to the severe anaemia I had anyway, and the overall trauma of HELLP syndrome and I received a transfusion of red blood cells about a week after Hugo was born.

My recovery improved in leaps and bounds after receiving the transfusion. Before it, I had felt constantly faint and weak, and had to be taken to the toilet in a wheelchair. I was also at increased risk of catching an infection, which would have meant I wouldn’t have been allowed to have gone to the neonatal intensive care unit to visit Hugo. Hugo was so tiny and fighting for his life: I wanted to spend every possible moment with him, and could not bear the thought of being kept away from him.

Hugo also received many blood transfusions during his life – blood transfusions are common for premature babies. Sadly, Hugo died aged 35 days. He was too small and premature, and his lungs were not developed enough.

I was so grateful to whoever had taken the time to donate blood. That blood helped hasten my physical recovery, and spend more precious time with my precious baby. The blood Hugo received helped him gain strength and fight a little bit more.

My blood transfusion

My blood transfusion

The Give Blood website has charts showing stocks of the different types of blood – I was shocked to see how low they are, with less than 10 days’ stock of AB positive blood, for example, and around four days’ stock for O positive and O negative in the blood banks.

To my shame, I have donated blood only once in my life. I kept planning to donate again, but never got around to it. I had resolved to donate in thanks for my transfusion, but then discovered that unfortunately I am not allowed to because of my transfusion. There are a few other groups who aren’t allowed to donate too. While donated blood is given stringent screening, these exclusions are designed to protect recipients from potential harm from blood borne viruses and diseases.

So, I am not able to practise what I preach, but I can repay the debt by encourage other people who are able to donate blood to do so. A quarter of the population will need a blood product at some point in their lives, whether it is the result of an accident, blood loss following an operation or childbirth. Some people may need a donation of red blood cells because of anaemia (there are many different types, and some require regular red blood cell transfusions), and some people may need platelet transfusions following treatment for cancer or as a result of a severe infection.

None of us like to think of something awful happening to us, or someone that we love. But if something awful does happen that means you or your loved one will need blood to save their life or aid their recovery, we would all like to know there are plentiful stocks available.

So let’s make 2015 a bloody good year by resolving to donate blood. It’s quick, easy, relatively painless – and can save lives. Visit the session finder to find out the next available opportunity near you, and other information you will need to know.

8 Comments on Make 2015 a bloody good year – save a life, give blood

  1. Louise
    January 3, 2015 at 4:25 pm (2 years ago)

    Thanks for raising awareness of how low blood stocks are and the importance of blood donation. Jessica had also had several transfusions and whilst I haven’t given blood since I was pregnant with her, this is a good reminder for me that now I can give again, I should make the effort to do so. Will be sharing to help raise awareness x

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      January 4, 2015 at 11:56 am (2 years ago)

      That’s brilliant, Louise. Thanks for helping raise awareness, too xxx

      Reply
  2. Lily Lau
    January 1, 2015 at 7:21 pm (2 years ago)

    I loved this post, Leigh 🙂 Let’s be more aware this 2015!

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      January 2, 2015 at 8:26 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you! Absolutely, we should be mindful of the need for blood – one day it might be us, or someone we love who is in need of it. xxx

      Reply
  3. myrecipebookuk
    January 1, 2015 at 6:21 pm (2 years ago)

    Thanks for the reminder. I gave blood a lot when I was younger but got out of the habit when I started work. You’re so right that we would all expect the blood to be there waiting for us if we needed it and we should all donate if we can. I’ve added this to my list of New Years resolutions in the hope that I can really help someone, just as the others that donated helped you and Hugo.

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      January 2, 2015 at 8:24 am (2 years ago)

      I’m so pleased you’ve added donating blood to your new year’s resolutions. It’s wonderful that Hugo’s legacy is having such an impact. Thank you, donating your blood really will help save someone’s life. xxx

      Reply
  4. Mummy Tries
    January 1, 2015 at 3:03 pm (2 years ago)

    Brilliant and vitally important post lovely. I’m really looking forward to regularly donating again once I’m not breastfeeding xxx

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      January 1, 2015 at 3:17 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks lovely. Brilliant news about you donating again once you’re able xxx

      Reply

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