Wigan man's rallying call for more blood donors as he reaches milestone

A man who has reached the milestone of donating blood and platelets 400 times is urging other people to help save lives.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 10:03 am

Marcus Hart, who lives in Up Holland, started giving blood 25 years ago after seeing a poster asking for donors.

He said: “After donating whole blood for a few times, I was told I had a high platelet count and would I like to become a platelet donor.

“I didn’t know what platelets were at the time, but found out they were tiny fragments of cells made in the bone marrow and released into the blood stream in the same way as red blood cells.

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“Those with leukaemia or other cancers may have too few platelets as the result of their disease or treatment. Also after major surgery or extensive injury patients may need platelet transfusions to replace those lost through bleeding. Platelets can be donated more frequently than whole blood.”

Marcus, 54, has continued to donate over the years, most recently giving blood during donation sessions at the DW Stadium in Wigan and Tanhouse Community Centre in Skelmersdale.

He says he has met some “wonderful donors” during that time, some of whom have donated even more times than he has.

Marcus has now decided to speak out about blood donation as he wants to encourage others to follow in his footsteps.

He said: “I noticed that more donors have come forward from friends and family to donate when I had chatted to them about this. I was very pleased that this happened, but thought it might be worth encouraging others to come forward as well who may not have donated before or who have not donated for a while.

“The more the process is promoted, the better the chances of increasing the number of donors as demand remains high.

“It is also worth mentioning it is safe to donate even with the Covid pandemic, as all the relevant procedures are in place while donating and it is also a relatively easy to do.”

Donated blood can be used to treat patients in an emergency or if they have a long-term condition.

NHS Blood and Transplant says it needs nearly 400 new donors every day to meet demand, including more donations from black people and new donors with priority blood types such as O negative.

The organisation says most people can give blood, providing they are fit and healthy; weigh between 7 stone 12lb and 25 stone, or 50kg and 158kg; are aged between 17 and 66 (or 70 if they have given blood before); or are over 70 and have given a full blood donation in the last two years.

Rules on who can donate blood have recently changed, opening it up to more gay and bisexual men. Men can give blood every 12 weeks and women every 16 weeks.

Plasma, which carries platelets and blood cells around the body, can be used to help people with cancers, rare diseases, immune disorders and genetic conditions.

Donation criteria is similar to giving blood, but people must also have suitable veins and a normal pulse, have enough blood to donate safely and be able to travel to a plasma donor centre.

To find out more about donating blood or platelets, go to www.blood.co.uk.

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