Plea for people in region to give blood over festive period

Two-year-old Henry Alderson has a rare condition and needs regular blood transfusions
Two-year-old Henry Alderson has a rare condition and needs regular blood transfusions
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The blood transfusion service is urging people in the region to give blood over Christmas for the many who need regular transfusions.

One of those in desperate need of blood is two-year-old Henry Alderson, who has a rare condition and needs regular blood transfusions, even over Christmas, to keep him alive. He has Diamond Blackfan Anaemia which means he can’t make his own red blood cells.

NHS Blood and Transplant is asking donors in the city to book an appointment to donate before Christmas if they haven’t already done so and to keep their appointment if they have already made one.

Donors who need to cancel their appointment are being asked to give at least three days’ notice so the slot can be opened up to someone else.

There is a dedicated blood donor centre at Sheffield Donor Centre, Cathedral Court, Church Street, Sheffield, S1 2GN, which is open Monday to Friday. Donor centres are bright and modern venues with free wifi, with longer opening hours than community venues.

Demand for lifesaving blood doesn’t stop for Christmas. Many children and adults will need transfusions over the festive period as treatment for a blood condition or cancer, or due to surgery, childbirth or an accident.

Young Henry has relied on blood donors since his first transfusion just minutes after he was born. He needs blood every three to four weeks and has received 30 transfusions already. Henry’s best chance at a long and healthy life is a bone marrow transplant.

His dad Craig said: “Before a transfusion Henry is as pale as a ghost and lacking energy. The change in him afterwards is incredible - he becomes supercharged! He’s back to being like any other toddler, playing, racing around and causing chaos.”

Henry’s mum Zoe added: “We rely on the kindness of strangers to keep Henry alive until he gets his transplant and that’s very humbling.

“Blood donors don’t know how special they are. They really are Henry’s heroes and they mean that we’ve just got to celebrate his second birthday and we get to spend a third Christmas together. Without them that simply wouldn’t be possible.”

All blood groups are being asked to make and keep their lifesaving appointment in the run up to and over Christmas. Visit www.blood.co.uk to make, view or change appointments or the ‘NHSGiveBlood’ app.