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Give the present of blood at Christmas

By Ian Duncan

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Stacey Ross.
Stacey Ross.

Inverness blood donor centre has launched its festive recruitment drive with the phrase: “We’d love to see you”.

This Christmas the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) is asking for new Highland blood donors, particularly in the Highland capital.

Inverness and the Highlands currently needs 66 new donors per month – with half of these people needed at Inverness Donor Centre. The Highlands currently has 18,548 registered blood donors, but only 2866 of those donate regularly at Inverness Donor Centre.

Stacey Ross, a 28-year-old early years practitioner from Garve, is backing the campaign as she was born with a hole in her heart which was also the wrong way round.

She had her first corrective surgery at just five days old and has had countless surgeries and blood transfusions ever since.

She said: “I’ve been able to achieve things in my life that I was told by doctors that I’d never be able to do, and I’ve only been able to do those things thanks to the generosity of blood donors.

“I remember going for a check-up after major surgery in 2004. I’ll never forget the look on the doctors’ faces after walking into the consultation room and telling them that I’d spent the summer canyoning and rafting at summer camp.

“I’d love to tell the donors that helped me that I was only able to do those things and make those memories thanks to people like them.

“If anyone has never given blood before or hasn’t been along in a while, please just book an appointment to go along. I’ve known other friends and family that have needed blood as well so I really know the difference it can make.”

Dr Sylvia Armstrong-Fisher, head of territory for the Northern Arch, said: “Inverness Donor Centre has an essential part to play in supporting NHS Scotland this winter.

“Every week, the donor centre must welcome 160 donors – this accounts for four per cent of the national blood supply, which is an amazing contribution.

“We are very keen to organise more group bookings – giving blood with friends, colleagues, or your club is a very valuable thing to do.

“We would love to build fruitful links with local companies, especially as part of their corporate responsibility programmes – please, do get in touch if you think your organisation could help out others in this way.”

Staff at the centre will be visiting schools in the area over the next few months encouraging S5 and S6 pupils to give blood – you can start giving blood at 17 years old.

n For more information, visit www.scotblood.co.uk or call 0345 90 90 999.

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