News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Who will be the next Graeme Thomas?

Media Release
21 February 2013


Who will be the next Graeme Thomas?

- NZ's most prolific blood donor retires after 550th donation

New Zealand's most prolific blood donor Graeme Thomas has today given his 550th donation and, at 72 years of age, will now retire.

"The search is now on for more new donors who may be able to help fill Graeme's seat at the Donor Centre," says NZBS marketing and communications Manager Paul Hayes "Only by donating for the first time can we identify a person's blood type and therefore how their donations can be used to help save lives."

Due to Graeme's blood type and special antibodies carried in his plasma (a component of blood), his donations have been used to make the Anti- D injection for pregnant and new mothers. This injection helps to protect unborn babies from the potentially life-threatening outcomes of Haemolytic Disease of the Newborn (HDN).

Over 45 years, Graeme has given an estimated 385 litres of plasma, which will have made more than 5,000 vials of the injection and helped ensure a countless number of happy, healthy babies.

Becoming a donor

"As with many donors, Graeme's first donation was possibly the most memorable," says Paul.

After responding to a newspaper call back in 1968 for male Rh negative blood-type donors, Graeme realised that only one in ten people possessed his blood type and was motivated to become a regular donor.

"It is such a big thing to save a life, yet it is relatively easy thing to donate blood," says Graeme.

Graeme's Rh negative blood type was what, in part, made him an ideal candidate to assist in producing the Anti- D injection.
In his younger years, he would walk to the local hospital to make donations on his lunch break, and more recently has continued his efforts travelling by ferry and then train to the Epsom donor centre from his home in Devonport.

As a blood donor, Graeme's constant donations had a profound impact on many lives. A fond memory from Graeme's early days as a donor was the 10th anniversary celebration of the Anti-D programme, where donors met a young girl who was one of the first to benefit.

"It was wonderful to see her then, healthy at 10 years old. She has probably been a mother herself now, maybe even a grandmother," says Graeme.

Like Rh negative, all blood types play a special role, and as Graeme says, "You never know when you could be called upon, or when your blood might be being used to save a life."
Having the right types of blood available at the right place and time is all it takes to help save lives.

Currently, the closest candidate to meeting Graeme's feat is a donor from Auckland. Who is only in his 50's who has donated 454 times and counting.

To find out if you are eligible to donate, call 0800 GIVE BLOOD or visit www.nzblood.co.nz.

About the Anti-D Injection:

Around 9,000 NZ women need an Anti-D Immunoglobulin injection each year. It 'mops up' foetal Rh positive red cells that can pass through the placenta, so that a mother with a Rh negative blood type does not produce antibodies against those cells.

If the mother produces antibodies, they attack the Rh positive red cells of that foetus and those of possible future pregnancies.

Specialist Transfusion Nurse with the New Zealand Blood Service, Rachel Donegan, says that prior to the development of Anti-D, there were often cases of babies born with life threatening jaundice and anaemia.

"Prior to Anti-D, babies with bad cases of HDN developed acute anaemia and many died. Those who survived often had severe jaundice and would require full blood transfusions, sometimes 10-ml at a time," says Rachel.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Review: “Salute” By Royal New Zealand Ballet In Wellington

The Royal New Zealand Ballet performed “Salute” for a final time in Wellington on Sunday night, and it was nothing short of spectacular. More>>

ALSO:

NZ on Air: More Funding For TV Captions To Increase Access

More funding for TV captions to increase access NZ On Air has increased funding to provide more captions and audio description on television programmes for the hearing and sight impaired. More>>

Music: So Laid Back Country China Album Release

On Friday night, So Laid Back Country China held a gig at Meow for the release of their new album With Knees of Honey in Goodbye Canyon. I briefly spoke with Harriet lead vocals, keyboard) and Michael (lead vocals, guitar) before the gig More>>

Art: Wellington Region Celebrates Matariki

Eight Wellington museums and galleries have joined forces to present a major programme of exhibitions and events to celebrate Matariki 2015, the Māori New Year. The Wellington Matariki Festival will host more than 60 free events and activities between Saturday ... More>>

Wellington: TEDxWellingtonWomen Speakers Unveiled

The lineup is announced today for the highly anticipated upcoming event TEDxWellingtonWomen. Speakers include local women and men who have lived extraordinary lives and have ideas worth spreading. More>>


Books: Witi Ihimaera To Address ‘State Of NZ Literature’at Festival

6 May 2015 MEDIA RELEASE Witi Ihimaera to Address ‘State of NZ Literature’ at Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival The New Zealand Book Council has chosen the 2015 Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival as the stage for its annual address, which ... More>>

Culture: Historic Māori Portraits Travel To The Czech Republic

Image credit: Gottfried Lindauer, Wahanui Reihana Te Huatare, oil on canvas, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mr H E Partridge, 1915 More>>

Art: Something Felt, Something Shared - Enjoy

Gabrielle Amodeo, Ruby Joy Eade, Clare McLean, Kalya Ward Curated by Emma Ng May 7 – 30, 2015 Opening: Wednesday May 6, 5.30pm Strange frequencies are channelled through personal narratives and poetic placeholders in Something felt, something ... More>>

Culture: Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015

Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015 Images from New Zealand Defence Force Click for big version A bugler plays The Last Post Click for big version A View from the top of the Carillion Click for big version Faces old and young Click for big ... More>>

Television: MediaWorks Announces Dancing With The Stars Hosts

MediaWorks and BBC Worldwide ANZ are delighted to announce host Dominic Bowden alongside co-host Sharyn Casey for the hit series Dancing with the Stars. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news