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Do something amazing this Christmas time

20 December 2019

We’re appealing to blood donors who live near our blood donation centres to book appointments to donate blood over the festive period – especially on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve.

Christmas is not a time for the NHS to stop – patients need life-saving blood all year round.

It’s vital that anyone who books to give blood this Christmas period keeps their appointment.

Each blood donation can help up to three people. Two people who know the amazing impact of blood donation are Lisa Best and Chanel Taylor.

Lisa received blood after giving birth on Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve six years ago Lisa Best of Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, was left fighting for her life after the birth of her daughter Ellie. 

Lisa had an emergency caesarean section and received 36 units of blood and blood products afterwards, which saved her life.

LisEllie holds two red velvet pouches with Lisa behind hera said: "We are so grateful to all those people that donate blood that played a part in saving my life. I never thought that it would be me that would need the help of strangers – you always believe it will be someone else."

Ellie is now a happy, healthy little girl, enjoying school, hobbies and a great family life.

Lisa explains: “Having been given a second chance at life, I’ve made every day with my family and Ellie count. Ellie is thriving and doing well at school. She loves dance and gymnastics.

"As for me, after all we went through when Ellie was born, and following many complications since, I had to undergo a full hysterectomy in May last year. I’m fighting fit now, though, and am looking forward to many more happy Christmases with my family."

It’s Ellie’s sixth birthday on Christmas Eve, so to celebrate the Best family went to Lapland UK.  

Lisa added: "We’ve been fortunate to visit many places, but Lapland UK last week was by far one of our favourites. It was an amazing, magical experience from start to finish.

"I’d like to thank every single person who gives blood – you have helped to make all this possible."

Chanel had a blood transfusion as a baby

Chanel Taylor, 35, has sickle cell disease. On the day she was diagnosed, Chanel was rushed to Queen Mary Hospital and underwent a major procedure where she needed a blood transfusion to keep her alive.

She was just nine months old. Doctors said it was a miracle Chanel survived.

What followed was a childhood in and out of hospital, and Chanel remembers the frustration of often being out of breath when she playing with other children and crying because "it felt like there was ice in my fingertips".

Chanel outside Tower Bridge in LondonNow a mum-of-one and BAME ambassador at NHS Blood and Transplant, Chanel wants more donors from the black, Asian and minority ethnic community with mixed heritage to become blood donors.

Chanel said: "It means so much to me because we don’t really speak about the need for more black blood donors amongst the black community, or donors of ethnic minority to come forward to give blood.

"I guess the community may be scared to talk about it.

"I have friends and other warriors – brothers, sisters – that suffer from sickle cell.

"I think collectively we need to raise the awareness of promoting more black blood donors to be registered so that the sickle community can benefit from better matched blood transfusions. Not just sickle cell patients, but other black and Asian communities as well."

Chanel founded a community organisation called Unsickle My Cells, which raises awareness about sickle cell disease.