National Blood Week: Sebastian and Andrew
Sebastian received Andrew's blood when he was just a day old. This is the story of when they met.
Sebastian's blood story
Sebastian Cockerill had his first blood transfusion the day he was born.
He was delivered by emergency caesarean after his mum's waters broke when she 24 weeks pregnant.
Mum Helen said: "We’d had a difficult road to get pregnant with Seb, so we’d already chosen his name and got everything planned."
Helen lost a lot of blood during the surgery which in turn meant Sebastian was born depleted of blood.
He was resuscitated and taken to a neonatal intensive care unit where he had his first blood transfusion.
One of those units of blood came from O negative donor Andrew Spence from Northamptonshire.
O negative is often used to help treat premature babies for a number of clinical reasons.
Helen said: "Sebastian wouldn’t have survived without each donation he had, so we’re lucky."
Sebastian and Andrew meet
Sebastian is now a lively 6 year old who loves Lego and playing with his friends and cousins.
Andrew, Sebastian and Helen met in a park in Luton in May 2019.
Andrew, who started donating through work and has given blood more than 30 times, said: "Getting the opportunity to meet someone that has received one of my donations is just fantastic.
"The day was fantastic - what an amazing emotional experience. Seb and his mum Helen were wonderful. He truly is a remarkable young man.
"As a parent myself, knowing that one of my donations has helped save the life of a child brings it all closer to home for me."
Helen said: "It is just amazing to be able to say, ‘this is what you did’."
Why we need more O negative donors like Andrew
O negative is an incredibly valuable blood type and demand for it is growing.
It’s the ‘universal’ donor type which means that almost everyone can safely receive red blood cells from O negative donors.
This makes it really important in an emergency or where a person’s blood type is not known.
Unsurprisingly, demand for O negative blood is always high but as it’s one of the least common blood types, collecting enough is a challenge.
In fact, just 8% of people have O negative blood but it makes up 13% of the blood used by hospitals.
If you know you are O negative, please keep giving for as long as you can. Sign in to your online account to book an appointment
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If you are O negative there’s a one in three chance your relatives have this incredibly important blood type too.
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O negative blood is amazing
Almost everyone can receive red blood cells from O negative donors