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The Donor magazine winter 2017

Hello, and welcome to the winter 2017 edition of The Donor magazine.

Ian Trenholm

Firstly, I would like to say a huge thank you for committing to saving lives by becoming a blood donor – whether you have signed up to be a donor recently, or have been donating for a little while. By pledging to donate, you’ve donned an invisible cape that makes you a silent superhero – quietly saving lives with each and every donation.

Giving blood is an amazing thing to do and we want every donation you make to be a great experience. We’ve got some tips to help you make your next donation go as smoothly as possible. We’ll also show you the amazing journey of your blood after you leave the session.

For those of you who are yet to take the plunge and donate for the first time, let Donna Akodu walk you through the experience – you can watch her making her first donation, and follow our step-by-step guide to giving blood so that you know what to expect.

Ebony Dunkley, our senior sister in Nottingham, explains why we need more black blood donors, and the challenges we face from the growing demand for the rare blood sub-type Ro which is used to treat sickle cell disease.

This year, we’ve made great progress on the research and development front. Results from the INTERVAL study have shown that some blood donors can donate more often, and we are making strides towards producing bespoke lab-made platelets that can be tailored for the individual. In this edition, you can also read about how donating blood can be just what the doctor ordered, as it helps with the treatment of some patients with genetic haemochromatosis.

In 2017 we have been building on our partnership with the Fire Service and Shadwell Fire Station has recently opened its doors to donors, with a fantastic response. We hope to build on this work and are looking to increase the number of free venues that can host blood donation sessions.

You may notice some further changes to the way that you give blood in the New Year, as we look to improve the donor experience - you’ll have the same person with you throughout most of your visit. We’re also amending the Donor Health Check to reflect the scientific review completed this year, offering more people the opportunity to donate.

Also in this edition are heart-warming stories from donors and recipients alike. Read about Chelsea Pensioner, John Wiseman as he dons his scarlet uniform to donate for the 90th time at Chelsea Old Town Hall. We also hear from Laura, whose double cornea transplant has allowed her to see the face of her son, Noah. Absolutely priceless.

We’d also like to offer our congratulations to two of our donors, Victoria and Joshua Dear, who married this summer after meeting when they gave blood in St Ives.

As we head into winter I would like to take this opportunity to ask those who are able to donate to book an appointment. We typically see a dip in blood stocks around this time of year, particularly over the Christmas and New Year period as precious time is taken up with the festivities.

Thank you for becoming a loyal and committed donor.

I wish you health and happiness for 2018.

Ian Trenholm, Chief Executive

Write and tell us your news, views and interesting or unusual donor stories by emailing thedonor@nhsbt.nhs.uk