A mother with a very rare blood type is Britain’s only blood donor of her type and has thus saved dozens of lives so far.
Sue Olds, 52, from Penzance, Cornwall, donates her blood every 16 weeks, with 46 samples being donated till now.
Out of the NHS Blood and Transplant’s (NHSBT) 830,860 donors, she has a rare type that is type -D-. The data has shown just 110 people in the world have this type, of which 88 live in Japan.
Type D- is a variant of the Rhesus (Rh) blood-group system with five main proteins on red blood cells (RBCs) being C, c, D, E and e.
Ms Old’s blood type is such that it can be given to anyone with Rh C, c, E or e blood.
Due to blood type -D-‘s rarity, if a patient in Britain was found to have this blood type and needed a transfusion, Ms Olds is the only qualified donor.
Ms Olds’ donations have so far ‘saved or improved’ the lives of dozens of people, including trauma victims, cancer patients, and premature babies.
If she continues donating for the rest of her life, she could save up to 100 people.
Recalling her first time, she said, ‘I had a phone call back in 2004 to say I had a rare type of blood but other than that not a lot of information came forward.’
‘Then earlier this year the NHS called me and told me the facts and figures, it’s a bit overwhelming.’
In 2017, her blood was given to a baby and medics believe that the infant may not have survived without her blood.
She said, ‘Some of my blood has gone on to save a baby’s life. It’s overwhelming, it’s very emotional.’
‘Life is very precious, I think whether it’s saving a baby’s life of a pensioner’s, it makes no difference.’
Mrs Olds told The Daily Mirror: ‘As soon as I finish one appointment I’ll be on the phone booking my next. It’s really nothing – just one hour of your day every four months.
‘I know that it will be of benefit to people who have been in road traffic accidents or those who are giving birth, for example. It is something that I would encourage everyone to do.’
An NHS Blood and Transplant spokesman said: ‘What is crucial here is that for some patients Sue would have been their only possible donor.
‘No other blood that we have in stock could have been used. For those patients with the same type, Sue is our sole current donor who can help them.
‘No one else’s blood could be given to some recipients in need without the risk of inducing a potentially fatal transfusion reaction.’
Samples of Ms Olds’ blood are also stored at the National Frozen Blood Bank in Liverpool for future use.
She told The Mirror: ‘I know it will be of benefit to people who have been in road traffic accidents or those who are giving birth, for example.’
‘Given only 110 known donors in the world have it, and only 30 people outside of Japan, you’d probably be talking a handful, but we don’t know,’ the NHSBT spokesperson said.
Source – Daily Mail