Urge for blood donors to come forward

The number of blood donors drops at christmas Photo: ITV News West Country

The blood transfusion service is facing its annual double whammy as donations drop and demand increases. A lot of regular donors are busy in the run-up to Christmas, or may not be able to donate because they have a cold.

So there's an appeal for more donors to come forward, and not just for blood - they're after your life-saving platelets as well.

Maddie regularly needs donated platelets Credit: ITV News West Country

Maddie has a rare blood disorder that covered her in blood blisters. She had to be taken by helicopter to the specialist regional centre, and she responded to treatment.

She was helped back to health by Chris Prout, who continues to donate his platelets. Donors don't often know where their blood or platelets go, but he met the family by chance. The platelets are extracted from the blood, and they have to be carefully matched to the recipient.

If more platelet donors were encouraged to come forward there's more chance that platelet matches can be made for young children, especially like young Madison.

– Chris Prout, platelet donor
Maddie gets her platelet from donor Chris Prout Credit: ITV News West Country

There's a real need for more donors, and not just for rare conditions like Maddie's Ideopathic thrombo-cyto-penic purpura.

The platelets are used, they're like a clotting factor. So people with leukaemia, people who are cancer sufferers sometimes need platelets in order to clot their blood.

– Gerladine Parker, NHS Blood and Transplant

Demand rises in winter, but donations drop in the weeks before Christmas.

Staff say there's no need to worry about needles and it's a charitable donation that won't cost you a penny.