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“Blood donations let my daughter live life to the full”

A mother's story

Alice on a sofa with a black labradorMarilyn’s daughter, Alice Fowler, was diagnosed with leukaemia in February 2016. She died in April 2018 on her 27th birthday.

During the two-and-a-half years of treatment, Alice received 144 blood transfusions.

It was these transfusions that improved Alice’s quality of life, allowing her to see friends and enjoy her time at home in between chemotherapy sessions.

Marilyn spoke to BBC 5 Live Breakfast about Alice and the vital role blood transfusions played in her treatment.

Marilyn says, “She had a break at home for two weeks after the intensive treatment, thanks mainly to mainly blood donations to get her back on top of things.

The chemo was amazingly intensive. The first round of treatment, she had chemo twice a day for 10 days. It was really, really aggressive and it killed all of her healthy cells.

“She had to have blood donations when she became anaemic. She became short of breath and she became very lethargic.

She had a bag of blood to improve the symptoms until her own body could then increase these cells to a level enough for her to go home, and for those two weeks she lived life completely to the full, completely.

“She was out and about with friends. I can’t tell you what she didn’t do - she made the most of those two weeks because she was back to normal health.”

New donors needed

Marilyn and Alice in floral dresses at a weddingMarilyn is helping to spread the word about the importance of new, young donors coming forward.

Every year, we need 135,000 new donors to replace those who can no longer donate.

Over half of current donors are over the age of 45, and we need to shift the balance to ensure future supplies.

“Alice and I always thought, probably like a lot of people, that blood was only ever used for major events, like the Manchester bombing, or things like road traffic accidents.

But we never realised the importance of it in every day treatment and how much she needed that blood.”

To all our donors, thank you for giving blood. Please do encourage friends and family to do the same.

Want to become a donor?

Lisa and Mia down camera.jpg

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Get in touch

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