Odd one out

With both his sisters, mother and father professionally linked to the health care sector, civil engineer Peter felt like the odd one out, so he became a blood donor to bridge the gap. It has since been five decades of committed donations that have turned him into the milestone donor he is today.

“New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) staff and facilities are all so great”, says Peter.

“It never occurred to me when I first started donating blood that I’d keep it up for so long but it all keeps me going back. It’s great to see everybody around you working hard to help save lives”.

Peter was already signed up to the donor registry by the time he did his national army service and says the experience stirred in him a sense of urgency and importance to keep up with his commitment as a donor.

“If I can do something to help someone in need, I will, so I donate”, says Peter.

“There’s always somebody worse off than ourselves and that motivates me too. I’ve been extremely lucky at now 68 years of age, to have enjoyed such good health. I’m just paying it forward to help those who need it”.

And pay it forward he does. Peter’s admirable commitment to donating blood has not only spanned several decades, but in fact several different types of donations too.

As all blood donors do, Peter started off as a whole blood donor – a type of donation that has the potential to save up to three lives with every donation and can be repeated up to four times a year. After about 100 whole blood donations and potentially saving about 300 lives, a nurse suggested that Peter move on to plasma, which is the liquid portion of the blood in which red and white blood cells and platelets are suspended – a longer procedure but one that can be repeated every two weeks. Happy to help, he became a plasma donor and was soon racking up his donations on a bi-weekly basis.

It has been 15 years since Peter has dedicated his time to plasma donations exclusively, until the end of 2018 that is, when yet again upon a nurse’s suggestion, Peter donated granulocytes, which are used for treating patients with very weak immune systems, for example people who have received bone marrow transplants.

“All I needed to hear was that it would go towards someone in need…the procedure was quite different from whole blood or plasma donations and I could only do this once, but I was happy to do it.

“I could recycle and regurgitate several corny and cliché sayings about the satisfaction of donation, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that there are scores of regular smiling donors in this country – that speaks for itself”. 

Whether it’s whole blood, plasma, platelets or granulocytes, it all goes towards helping someone in need. Peter will help where he can and already looks forward to jumping back to plasma for his 304th donation. He says ‘don’t be the odd one out’ and encourages anyone who is eligible to donate to give it a go.

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

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