Jill Johnston, a regular blood donor at Cambridge donor centre, celebrated her 75th birthday on the same day as the NHS.
“I was born on the 5th of July in 1948 – the same day as the NHS. We have joked over the years that my dad told the midwife to hold on until after midnight on the 4th!”
At eight-years-old, Jill was hospitalised for bronchial pneumonia and required an oxygen tent: “My parents were very glad to have a National Health Service. I’m not sure if it is true but I was told the newspaper used to print a list of patients on the ‘danger list’ and my name was on it for a short while.
“My blood donor journey started a little later in life when I was in my 30’s and I remember my first donation at the old scout hut in St Neots, Cambridge where I donated for many years.”
(Picture: Jill has over 220 donation credits)
At one appointment, Jill was asked if she would consider switching to platelet donation. She gave a blood sample and moved to donate platelets at Cambridge donor centre where she continues to donate to this day. After eight years, she made the switch back to whole blood donations.
I have always found giving blood an easy thing to do
“I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years, most notably the move from beds to chairs and the more thorough cleansing of the arm. The staff have remained excellent and I have always found giving blood an easy thing to do, with the drinks and biscuits being the best bit too!”
Between her whole blood and platelet donations over the years, Jill has accumulated over 220 donation credits. Her selfless generosity will have helped to improve and save hundreds of lives across the country.
“I plan to continue to donate for as long as I am able to.”