“IT IS literally as if someone is injecting life into me.”
Within seconds of receiving a simple blood transfusion Steph Robinson, pictured, can feel the life returning to her body – giving her the energy to fight on for another day.
But while the Southampton university student has been lucky enough to have her life saved on numerous occasions thanks to the selfless generosity of blood donors, future patients may not be as fortunate as new recruits reach a critical low.
The NHS Blood and Transplant Service (NHSBT) have been forced into taking urgent action as a steady decline in registering blood donors over recent years has taken a dramatic dip over the last 12 months.
Steph hopes her story will help the blood service achieve its target of recruiting 200 new donors in Southampton, as part of a UK-wide drive to recruit 100,000 people over the next 100 days, to meet the shortfall in donations.
A major concern is the failure to attract young people who are vital to the service to replace existing donors who drop out of the system.
Over the last 12 months there has been a 50 per cent drop in the number of 17 and 18-year-olds registering causing the service to take action before it is too late.
Steph was just 15 when her life was saved by an emergency blood transfusion after losing two litres of blood every time she went to the toilet.
She was later diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Disease but while doctors were frantically trying to find out what was causing the extensive blood loss, it was donated blood that kept her alive while she was in intensive care.
Since then she has received 20 units of blood during relapses over the past four years.
Steph, who is studying Biochemistry at the University of Southampton, said: “There’s no doubt in my mind that without blood transfusions I would not be here today.
“Giving blood literally saves lives. It has saved mine.
“It still amazes me how immediate the effects of the blood transfusion are.
Within an instant I suddenly have so much more energy. It is literally like someone is injecting life into me and I get this flash of warmth around my body.
“It has changed my life and every blood transfusion has given me the energy to keep studying even when I was in hospital and despite all my time on the wards I have been able to get to university and achieve something.
“As a recipient of blood donations I am really keen to tell people how much it can change someone’s life and to thank all those people who selflessly go and donate blood, never knowing who it is going to save. I just hope more and more people become donors.”
One blood donation can help to save up to three lives, helping patients suffering from cancer, mothers in maternity care or those involved in accidents. Hospitals across England need 7,000 units of blood every day so it is vital that new blood donors are found and registered.
Jon Latham, from NHSBT, said: “The number of young people donating has been falling for the last decade but this year there’s been a sharp drop and we now need 100,000 donors to sign up in the next 100 days to start addressing the shortfall.
“We welcome new donors of any age, but a failure to boost the number of young donors now will put a strain on the blood service in the years to come.”
- Anyone wanting to donate for the first time should be aged between 17-65, weighing at least 7st 12lb and in general good health. There is no upper age limit for donors who have donated in the last two years.
- To book an appointment call the Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23.