My boy is only alive now thanks to the kindness of strangers… please help if you can
THE MUM of a little boy who needs a lifesaving blood transfusion just days before Christmas is urging people to give blood over the festive period.
Archie Flintoft suffers from a rare condition which means that he can’t make his own red blood cells.
The condition is known as Diamond Blackfan Anaemia and the five-year-old has relied on donors to keep him alive ever since he was a baby.
Archie needs blood every three weeks and he is due to receive his 59th transfusion next week.
His mum Vicky is now urging people to book in to give blood, with appointments even available on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.
The 38-year-old, who lives in Harrogate with her husband Dean and their seven-year-old daughter Holly, said blood is Archie’s lifeline.
Vicky said: “Archie is a typical five-year-old. He’s a massive fan of superheroes and a real livewire. To look at him you’d never know there was anything wrong.
“Archie knows his bones don’t make blood so he needs blood from other people. Before a transfusion he is unsettled and bad tempered, but once he has that good blood in him the happy, lively little boy who loves cuddles is back. Blood changes everything for Archie – It is literally his lifeline.”
Before Archie was born, Vicky admits that she thought blood was only needed in emergencies.
She said: “Now I know there are many people like him with life-threatening conditions who depend on blood all year round, even at Christmas.”
NHS Blood and Transplant is urging donors to book in for appointments over Christmas and the New Year in order to help build blood stocks over winter.
The only two days of the year that blood is not collected are Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Both children and adults continue to need blood over the festive period for various conditions including cancer, blood conditions, surgery or accidents.
Every week around 1,500 units of blood is needed and extra appointments have been added to centres so that the NHS can reach this target.
What is Diamond Blackfan Anaemia?
Diamond Blackfan Amaemia or DBA is a rare blood condition.
If you have DBA you struggle to produce enough red blood cells.
The main job of bone marrow is to produce red blood cells and the condition primarily effects bone marrow.
Without enough red blood cells you can feel tired and experience a shortness of breath.
The condition is usually diagnosed when a child is less than a year old and the gene is sometimes passed down from a parent.
What are the symptoms?
- pale skin
Giving blood helps save lives and Vicky said Archie wouldn't be here today without the generosity of others.
She added: “I cannot put my gratitude to blood donors into words. Without them, my son wouldn’t have left hospital as a baby.
"Donors give him life – they are superheroes in my eyes. I would especially thank those who make the extra effort to donate over Christmas to help people like Archie.”
While many people may feel uneasy about donating due to the coronavirus restrictions, giving blood has been made exempt from any travel restrictions and donors can still attend appointments during coronavirus lockdowns.
Jon Latham, Assistant Director of Donor Relationship Services at NHS Blood and Transplant said it’s more important than ever for people to donate.
He said: “The demand for blood has reached near pre-pandemic levels, yet we have extra winter challenges this year with the added pressure of Covid-19.
"In the summer months there was less demand from hospitals for blood, but this winter could be particularly challenging for us because that is no longer the case, and we now have donors spaced out and fewer beds in use as well as the usual winter pressures like colds, flu and bad weather.
“We need anyone who is fit and healthy and who can donate to please book and make an appointment. Our sessions are open as usual with extra safety measures in place and extra appointments have been added to help us meet these winter demands.”
How do I give blood?
The official NHS blood donation website can track down you local centre by searching your postcode.
Once you have located your nearest centre, you can either call 0300 123 23 23 to make an appointment or book online.
Whatever your schedule, there's always time to give blood.
You can donate just under a pint of blood every 16 weeks if you are a woman and every 12 if you are a man.
This is because it takes the body at least three months to replace all of its red blood cells.
As only people between the ages of 17-65 can donate blood, the UK currently needs over 200,000 new donors to meet the needs of hospitals.
In order for centres to continue to run so that people can give blood, extra safety measures are in place across all sites.
This includes social distancing, the use of face masks and hand gels and hand wash facilities.
Each donor will also have their temperature checked on arrival.
To sign up to be a donor visit blood.co.uk.
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