What's your type?
Who your blood can help depends on your blood type
Lucy and Greg Shaw of Bingley, West Yorkshire, made a life-saving appointment to give blood together on Friday 14 February – Valentine’s Day.
The married couple regularly donate together and gave blood on Friday at Bradford Blood Donor Centre – each donation can save up to three lives, so their romantic gesture could save up to six lives.
Lucy, 42, who runs a fashion business, said: “It just so happened that the next date I could donate fell on Valentine’s Day. I messaged Greg and told him I’d sorted Valentine’s Day for us!”
Greg, 41, a graphic designer, said: “We just donate because even if you can’t change the world you can still change someone’s life by donating blood.”
Usually, Lucy and Greg have a meal together for Valentine’s Day.
The couple met through work and married in 2006, going on to have three children: Red aged 11, Stirling aged 9 and Monroe aged 7. The children are “proud” that their parents are blood donors and sometimes join them at appointments.
Men can give blood every 12 weeks and women can give blood every 16 weeks to protect their iron levels (1). Lucy and Greg usually co-ordinate their appointments for the same day.
Lucy said: “We almost always donate together; we do most things together!”
Lucy has O negative blood – a priority blood type (2). O negative blood is the universal blood type that can be given to anyone in an emergency. Only 8% of the population is O negative but it makes up 14% of the blood used by hospitals.
Lucy said, “I am aware of being a universal donor, but I think all blood type donations are important.”
Lucy started donating first and has given blood 15 times and she encouraged Greg to start – he has donated six times and has O positive blood.
She said: “We’d seen adverts for blood donation and thought if we can donate, we should. It’s a simple thing to do on our part, just give an hour of our time every three to four months. The staff are always really lovely and caring too!”
There is a dedicated Donor Centre in Bradford. Donor Centres are open for longer hours on weekdays and at weekends.
You can register to donate blood today. If there are no available blood donation appointments near you in February, do not worry. You can donate for the first time in a few weeks or a few months instead – you will still be saving lives.