People in Milton Keynes are urged to give blood this December

Henry Anderson
Henry Anderson

People in Milton Keynes are being urged to give blood this December to ensure hospitals can continue to treat patients over the festive season.

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.

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.

Two-year-old Henry Alderson 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.

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, but vulnerable groups like O negative, B negative and A negative platelets are particularly important. If you are one of these blood groups please try your best to keep your appointment.

It’s also important donations are made from across the country’s diverse population, as some disorders are more common in certain ethnic backgrounds and patients need to receive well matched blood. People from the same ethnic background are more likely to have matching blood types.

Amy Rowley, head of donor marketing operations for Milton Keynes, said: ‘Blood stock levels can dip over the busy festive period as Christmas shopping, celebrations and extended public holidays mean giving blood can slip off to-do lists.

“But we need our loyal donors in Milton Keynes more than ever at this time of year to help us meet increased demand from hospitals for lifesaving blood over the festive period.

“Please make and keep a date to donate in December. If you need to cancel please give us at least three days’ notice so we can open up the appointment to another donor.

“It’s quick and easy to make, view and change appointments at www.blood.co.uk or via our mobile phone app.”