Guest Article – Welsh Blood Service
A new mother who received a lifesaving blood transfusion during childbirth is encouraging communities across Wales to give ‘the best gift’ this Christmas by supporting the Welsh Blood Service.
Stacey Fordham Gray, a former blood donor herself, experienced complications during the birth of her daughter Millie and received a lifesaving blood transfusion.
Stacey explains, “Like most first-time mums, I had expected my birth story to be filled with breathing techniques and soft lighting and not one that would include me needing a team of doctors and nurses.
“Having received a blood transfusion, I am no longer able to donate myself, but I will continue to support the Welsh Blood Service by sharing my story. Hopefully, this will help more people understand what a difference it makes and why they should donate themselves.
“Without donors’ generosity, I would not have been here to celebrate Millie’s first birthday. I will forever be grateful to that complete stranger who selflessly donated their blood and saved my life.”
Stacey’s commitment to the Welsh Blood Service was further strengthened after her father was diagnosed with cancer just four weeks after walking her down the wedding aisle. Stacey attended every appointment at Velindre Cancer Centre with her dad, but his condition declined and five months later he sadly passed away.
Stacey said, “After losing my dad to cancer, I continued to donate blood until I needed it myself. Whilst I can’t donate blood anymore I am still on the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry and hopeful I can be that stranger too by donating my bone marrow for someone fighting blood cancer.”
There are over 2,000 people annually in the UK and 50,000 worldwide with blood cancers who require a lifesaving bone marrow transplant. Currently, only seven in ten patients across the UK find a suitable bone marrow match.
Alan Prosser, Welsh Blood Service Director, said, “For patients who find themselves in need, as Stacey did, a donation will be ‘the best gift’ they receive.
The Welsh Blood Service is now preparing to face winter pressures and hopes its Christmas campaign, ‘the best gift’, will help to raise awareness about the difference donating blood, platelets and bone marrow makes. The Service provides lifesaving blood and blood products to 20 hospitals across Wales and four Wales Air Ambulance aircraft for use in emergencies. It also recruits and support bone marrow volunteers matched with cancer patients in making a potentially lifesaving bone marrow donation.
Alan continued, “Blood and blood products have a relatively short shelf life, so they are in constant need by hospitals 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including bank holidays like Christmas and New Year’s Day, to help support patients and save lives across Wales.
“It’s critical the Service is prepared, so we’re reaching out to our communities across Wales to ask them to make a lifesaving donation this Christmas and over the Winter period or sign up to our bone marrow registry.”
Do something amazing this Christmas and New Year. Give someone the best gift, give blood and, if you are aged 17-30 join the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry either when you donate blood or by requesting a swab kit online.
If you are aged 17 or over, book to give blood at: www.wbs.wales/Xmas22 or call 0800 252 266 today.
If you’re aged 17 to 30, find out how you can join the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry at www.wbs.wales/bmrxmas22.
CLAIM WHAT’S YOURS