Annabelle remembers her father

Annabelle Fawcett lost her father to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when she was five years old. As she has grown older, she has looked for meaningful ways to give back in remembrance. 35 years on, what started out as a good deed has now turned into her career with New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS).

Annabelle’s first encounter with blood donation was in high school – she already knew donating blood could potentially go towards patients fighting blood cancer, and with the promise of a biscuit and time off school there wasn’t a need for additional convincing. Since her high school days, she’s donated sporadically, but it wasn’t until she gave birth to her first child ten years ago that she witnessed first-hand how lifesaving blood donations really are. Due to a complication during child birth, she herself needed two units of whole blood in addition to receiving a plasma-derived product known as Anti-D, and has since been forever grateful to her fellow donors, for being there when she needed them most.

“You donate blood for the greater good, never thinking you’ll be on the receiving end”, says Annabelle. “I’m incredibly thankful to my fellow donors who stepped up for me, whoever/wherever you are, thank you”.

Annabelle now has a unique perspective on blood as both a donor and recipient and in an effort to do more in her fathers’ memory, she signed up for ‘Shave for a Cure’ – an annual Leukaemia and Blood Cancer NZ foundation initiative where every year thousands of Kiwis get sponsored to shave their heads in support of people living with blood cancer. Annabelle had no idea what to expect, and while her initial goal was to raise $500, she ended up with a whopping $2500.

“Shave for a Cure was a beautiful experience. It also coincided with the 30th anniversary of my father’s passing, so it was perfect timing”, says Annabelle. “It was very emotional because the support I received was immense. Cancer and blood donation both touch so many lives, and you don’t really realise it until you put yourself out there”.

Since living this unforgettable experience, Annabelle had made it her mission to get closer to blood donation and after some research found the perfect option – a job opportunity as a donor recruiter for NZBS.

“I was gradually thinking about blood donation more and more when I discovered this job opening. It was perfect timing. I’d been in sales and banking for the last five years and now with this role what better way of remembering my father, than to dedicating my time recruiting donors. “

Annabelle is certain her father would have been the sort of person to sign up as a blood donor had he been alive today. Through her journey, she’s learned there are different ways to help save a life and she’ll continue doing all she can, while she can, in remembrance.

To find out more about how you can become a blood donor, click here or call 0800 GIVE BLOOD.

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