Olympic hopeful Franki Jus-Burke from Putney first gave blood after seeing our appeal for young people to come forward to donate during National Blood Week 2011.
She said: "When I saw the news about the drop in young donors I felt compelled to donate. I made an appointment that day and gave blood the same week. It didn´t hurt at all and was over very quickly. I've even managed to convince a few of my friends to do the same and I recently gave my second donation at the West End Donor Centre in London."
25 year old Franki started rowing at the age of 13 after a school assembly by Newark Rowing Club persuaded her to try the sport. Three years later, at the age of 16 she made the Great Britain Junior squad, and from then on regularly represented Great Britain at an International level.
In 2004, she entered her first Junior World Championships and the following year won a Bronze medal. That same year she also won the British Championships in the Quadruple Scull and Single, and came second at Henley Women's Regatta.
Over the next few years Franki achieved further medals including silver at the World Championships in 2006. Sadly in 2008, as a result of a chronic back injury she took premature retirement and early the following year started working at the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust where Olympic Gold Medallist Dame Kelly put her in touch with her physiotherapist. With her diagnosis and support, Franki overcame the injury and with the support of Dame Kelly she decided to return to rowing and fulfil her potential of becoming an Olympic athlete.
In 2010, Franki enjoyed more victories on the water, but in March this year suffered a further setback with a hip injury and was forced to pull out of Olympic trials. She is continuing with her rehabilitation programme until she gets the all clear to get back in the boat and has her sights still firmly set on being part of the GB team in Rio in 2016.
As collective excitement builds for the London Olympics, blood stocks also need to be built up to 30% more than usual in preparation for the additional visitors attracted by the summer´s events. Inspired by team spirit and a winning attitude, hopefully the UK can achieve this goal together!
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