NHS Blood - Give Blood England and Wales

A photograph of Colin Birt holding up a postcard of a cruise ship.

Blood donor to the rescue

When Colin Birt sat down to dinner with his wife, Anna, on board a luxury cruise liner, blood donation could not have been further from his mind.

The couple were on the homeward leg of their cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Southampton and were happily discussing their next port of call when they heard an announcement over the PA system.

Colin says, "They were asking for regular O negative or O positive blood donors. Without hesitation I excused myself from the table and went to the ship's hospital. I was asked if I would donate blood to save the life of a fellow passenger. I agreed and soon after giving some samples of blood for testing I was in one of the bed bays donating blood. Once my donation was complete I understand that it was not long before it was being transfused to the sick patient. To date I've given nearly 40 blood donations but have never known where my blood was used. Although the patient's name was never revealed to me it was amazing to know that my blood was being used to save the life of someone on board my ship."