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I started donating in 1984 at the Panmure RSA. Back in those days I was amused to see that after donating and having a cup of tea upstairs, donors with plasters on their arms could then be found sitting drinking beer downstairs! I made the switch to donating plasma in the late 1980s and soon stepped up my donations to once a fortnight. I quickly got my ’50 donations’ certificate, then ‘100 donations’, and in the 1990s I become a platelet donor.
I’ve been to some evening events over the years, one of which included a fascinating tour of the laboratory at the Epsom Donor Centre. At another event I also met a young boy in a wheelchair who relied on a treatment made from plasma, Factor VIII. We were told that he could need up to 100 bottles during an operation. For me, this was an inspiration to donate the maximum I possibly could.
I’ve always had fun donating. At one time, when the machines were upgraded to speed up the donation process, I was chosen as the ‘test dummy’ for the new machine.
The first time I got an emergency call to say that my platelets were needed I was away on business and not due back until the next day. When the Donor Centre said that they would open at whatever time I got back I realised the value of my donation to help someone in need and got back as soon as I could.
Most recently, the call came for a woman who needed matched platelets to help her to have children. It was important for me to help her have her best shot at life and to provide a future for her potential children.
I’ve got the call a few times, and it has highlighted to me the importance of being willing to donate for someone who needs it.
Over the years I have had a lot of laughs and fun with the always friendly and helpful staff. I have never come across a negative staff member which is a credit to the staff, who work in a highly regulated, pressured environment.
Having made well over 350 donations now, I’ve had hundreds of needles put in my arms and suffered some pain and inconvenience at times, but I continue to willingly donate as often as I can and encourage others to do the same. The integrity of the service and staff is way beyond exceptional and I offer my congratulations to all for the amazing difference you all make.
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