This festive season, the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) are asking donors to book their festive appointment early, and ensure blood and platelet supplies are at safe levels throughout the Festive period.
The campaign is supported by baby Lottie Watson who was only the weight of a small Christmas pudding when she was born. Baby Lottie arrived three months early before her weight dropped to just over a pound. But she will now be celebrating her first Christmas thanks to the generosity of Scotland’s blood donors. And those heroes have now been asked by SNBTS to book their festive appointment now to keep supplies at safe levels.
Lottie’s dad Chris said: ‘Our treasured daughter Lottie was born three months early. Lack of blood flow and loss of amniotic fluid resulted in an early delivery. Lottie had stopped growing and had reduced movements – she was delivered just in time.
I had never thought about giving blood, it simply hadn’t crossed my mind. When I saw what a difference it made to Lottie I swore I would give back as soon as she was well.Chris Watson
‘Lottie weighed just 1lb 4 when she was born, which dropped to 1lb 1. She was in Wishaw General for 13 weeks and received five blood transfusions.
‘We knew she needed a transfusion before the numbers came back from the labs. Her colour would completely drain. She was like a whole new baby after her transfusion.
‘I had never thought about giving blood, it simply hadn’t crossed my mind. When I saw what a difference it made to Lottie I swore I would give back as soon as she was well.
‘Lottie now weighs 9lbs 4 and has recently started weaning on to solid foods. In September I was able to attend the Wishaw Give Blood session with my wife Louise to give my first ever donation.
‘I wanted to give back because if it wasn’t for the kindness of strangers who gave up their time and blood I wouldn’t have my little girl.
‘I’d like to thank all the donors who have made Lottie’s treatment possible, and my family wishes all of you a very merry Christmas.’
Further thanks are from patient Kate Kenyon, from Aberdeenshire. Kate was diagnosed aged two with sepsis, and during many years of treatment that followed she has received multiple blood donations.
Kate says, ‘Aged seven, I received a kidney from my mum. I then needed that replaced aged 23, and was lucky enough to receive a kidney from the organ donation transplant list. I’ve had additional complications, including anaemia, which mean I’ve received blood numerous times throughout my life. I’d like to encourage as many people as possible to come forward and donate in Aberdeen Donor Centre. It really is a life saving facility.’
Public Health Minister, Jenni Minto said, ‘This crucial service couldn’t operate without its wonderful blood donors and hardworking staff who work tirelessly throughout the year. I would encourage anyone who is eligible to give blood to book an appointment this Christmas.’
SNBTS Associate Director Donor Services, Debbie McNaughton added: ‘We work with Scottish hospitals carefully to ensure the best blood products are available for all patient groups. An important patient group is premature babies who need specialised products. Every month, over 100 donations are manufactured specially for neonates. Baby Lottie will remind people about the need for these essential blood components. They will not take a rest over the festive period. Our appointment grids are open, and we need everyone to book their festive appointment now.
‘This year, we are particularly asking donors with the blood group O or A to come forward at this point. Demand for these blood groups is expected to be high over the festive period. We also need O Negative donors, who are the only donors whose blood group can safely be given to everyone in an emergency situation. Christmas day is on a Monday, which means we must ask donors to come forward early to ensure supplies are at safe levels. Peak collection days are normally midweek for blood donors. Platelets have a shelf life of only seven days, and we anticipate donors will be busy the weekend before Christmas. It’s very important donors come forward throughout December and into the New Year, to ensure Scottish hospitals are well stocked.’