Give a little something
It’s true that not all heroes wear capes. In New Zealand, some wear hard hats and safety vests, suits, active wear, even togs and jandals. Just last year, our donors saved and improved the lives of 27,000 New Zealanders – averaging about 74 people per day.
One particular donor we had the pleasure of showcasing during our Missing Type campaign in October 2017 has a particularly special quality about him.
By day, Todd Lust is an office manager at a catering company in Wellington. He’s an avid bBridge player and cyclist who enjoys the occasional stroll. But Todd’s mild-mannered alter ego hides an exceptional capability – he’s also one of just five people in the whole of the country who is an exact match to one fellow Kiwi, and his last donation helped save her life.
Todd is what’s called a “matched platelet donor”. Platelets are very small cellular components that are important for clotting – if your platelets are low, your risk of bleeding is high. In some cases, an individual can form antibodies (proteins that are used by the immune system to neutralize bacteria and viruses) against their own platelets. This means a special search needs to be done to find these people an exact donor match, to ensure their platelets won’t be attacked by their own immune system.
Although he has this special ability, Todd doesn’t confine his donations to just platelets. He schedules his visits to the donor centre regularly and makes his donations according to the specific demand at the time – which can vary from whole blood, to plasma, to platelets.
His special bond to giving is rooted in his infancy, when his father sadly passed away due to extensive burns during a house fire. Todd took it upon himself to start donating when he started high school and has continued to do so ever since. To date, he has made a staggering 238 donations.
For Todd, donating is all about helping and giving back. “I would suggest to every New Zealander that they at least consider becoming a donor. Give it a try at least once. And if the needles scare you, just look away and picture yourself at the beach… We’ve all got time to give a little something.”
Like a true hero, enduring a slight moment of pain is worth it because he knows it’s a deed done for the greater good.
While our Missing Type campaign only ran from the 16th to the 21st of October, the need for donors is constant and currently only 4% of the eligible population donate. Do you? What does your cape look like?
To find out more about how you can become a blood donor, click here or call 0800 GIVE BLOOD.