The Ultimate Christmas Gift
Six days before Christmas 2010, a tiny present was delivered early. Baby Lochlan was born prematurely at 26 weeks as a result of pre-eclampsia.Weighing only slightly more than a block of butter (545g) and measuring less than a standard ruler (at only 28cm in length), Lochlan set out to prove from day one that he was a fighter.
On Christmas Day while other families were opening presents and enjoying precious time together, six-day-old baby Lochlan, with one of the rarest blood types in New Zealand AB+, developed a life-threatening infection and urgently needed a blood transfusion.
Having a rare blood type and being a premature baby meant doctors had to find a suitable paediatric blood donor match urgently. “My heart was just breaking, at that moment in time, it just seemed an almost impossible hurdle for Lochlan to overcome,” says his mum Wendy.
A suitable donor was quickly located and asked to give the ultimate gift on Christmas Day. An on-call New Zealand Blood Service team was mobilised and the nearest New Zealand Blood Service Donor Centre opened its doors to receive the extra special donation – a unit of blood especially for Lochlan.
Wendy says, “It restores my faith in humanity when there are so many terrible things happening in the world. It blew me away that someone was generous enough to give up their time with no notice, on Christmas of all days, to do something for someone they’ll never meet.”
Lochlan went on to spend five months in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and during his stay had multiple transfusions of whole blood, platelets and albumin. Now, thanks to the generosity of blood donors, Lochlan is a very happy and healthy four-and-a-half year old, and Wendy cannot thank blood donors enough for saving his life.
“It's safe to say that without the blood products he received, Lochlan wouldn't be here today. Without the generous support of blood donors, a lot of people may have had very different outcomes. The blood donor who saved Lochlan’s life inspired Wendy to lend an arm and become a blood donor herself.
“It’s a way of showing my appreciation and to pay it forward to others in need. You never know when it might be you or one of your loved ones that needs life-saving blood. I know from experience that things can change in an instant,” says Wendy.
To find out more about becoming a blood donor, visit www.nzblood.co.nz or call 0800 448 325.