The family of a young boy who has needed regular blood transfusions since he was born has urged others to donate a pint of the red stuff this Christmas.
Young Rylan Feery was born with hereditary spherocytosis, which means his red blood cells are sphere shaped not doughnut shaped. His spleen thinks they are damaged and attacks them.
A blood transfusion saved the Hampton lad’s life when he was born, and since then he has needed regular transfusions.
He makes regular trips to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge to have the treatment.
His dad, Michael also has the same condition.
Now the family are backing a campaign to encourage more people to give blood.
Rylan’s mum Kayleigh said people who gave blood would ‘always be in her heart.
’She said “Having hereditary spherocytosis is like living your life on a rollercoaster ride. One minute Rylan’s up and feeling great, the next he has crashed and feeling tired.
“When he has a transfusion, his colour comes back immediately, his lively and has a good appetite.
“It was amazing to see the difference in him the first time he had a transfusion,
“I remember sitting there, looking at him and thinking without these amazing people Rylan wouldn’t be here now.
“They will always be in my heart.”
The appeal for donors is more important than ever inwinter and around Christmas, when fewer people book appointments.
Nationally, around a third of appointments remain unbooked in December and over the festive season around 24,000 appointments to give blood are also missed.
Michelle Laserna, Senior Marketing Coordinator at NHS Blood and Transplant urged people to make an appointment this year.
She said: “We need our amazing donors in Peterborough more than ever at this time of year.
“ If you make and keep an appointment this December you will be saving and improving lives over the festive season – can you think of a better gift to give?
“Please make a date to donate now. If you cannot make your appointment to give blood, please let us know as soon as possible.”
All blood groups are being asked to make and keep their lifesaving appointment in the run up to and over Christmas, but vulnerable groups like O negative, B negative and A negative platelets are particularly important.
It’s also important the service get donations from across the country’s diverse population, as some disorders are more common in certain ethnic backgrounds and patients need to receive well matched blood. Donors from the same ethnic background are more likely to be a close match.
Red blood cells only have a shelf life of 35 days, and platelets, tiny cells in the blood which enable clotting, only have a shelf life of seven days. Every week the entire red cell stock needs replacing and the national supply of platelets needs replenishing every few days. NHS Blood and Transplant needs people to continue donating over the holiday period to renew stocks and meet demand from hospitals treating seriously ill patients.
To book an appointment visit www.blood.co.uk, use an NHS Give Blood app or contact us on 0300 123 23 23.