Parents of boy, 2, who’s kept alive with fortnightly blood transfusions urge people to keep donating over festive period as it’s revealed 25% cancelled their Christmas appointments in 2017
- Henry Alderson suffers from the rare condition Diamond Blackfan Anaemia
- The rare bone marrow disorder means he cannot make his own red blood cells
- Unfortunately, he’s one of thousands affected by the annual Christmas ‘slump’
- One in four appointments to give blood were cancelled before Christmas 2017
- Selfishly, one in 10 just failed to turn up – stopping others from filling the space
The parents of a boy dependent on blood donations are urging people to keep giving over the festive period.
It comes as the NHS faces the annual Christmas ‘slump’, when precious supplies diminish as people fail to keep their appointments.
Last year, one in four time slots were cancelled at short notice, while one in 10 simply failed to turn up – stopping others from replacing them.
Zoe and Craig Alderson, from Essex – whose son Henry, two, has Diamond Blackfan Anaemia and requires fortnightly transfusions – said: ‘We rely on blood donors to keep him alive.’
Dependent: Henry Alderson (centre) having a blood transfusion with his parents Zoe and Craig
The rare bone marrow failure disorder means he cannot make his own red blood cells and needs transfusions every four weeks to keep him alive.
Henry, who turns three this week, has had around 40 transfusions since first receiving blood just minutes after he was born.
His mother describes them as ‘supercharging’ and said they give the youngster a normal life.
Is snacking as deadly as smoking? Nutritionist investigates…
‘Taking a HIV test is something to be proud of – not…
How you can prevent a heart attack: BARNEY CALMAN joins the…
‘I was not real happy about it – I feel like they owe me a…
Share this article
‘Henry is a cheeky chappie, always on the go, but in the days before his transfusion he turns as pale as a ghost and his energy levels plummet,’ she says.
‘He is now so used to transfusions that he gets excited about going to hospital and happily watches the needle go in. Once the blood works its magic he is full of energy once more.
‘Henry’s best chance at a long and healthy life is a bone marrow transplant, but for now we rely on blood donors to keep him alive.
‘His transfusions in November and December will mean he can enjoy Christmas. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who gives blood.’
Life-saving: Henry, who turns three this week, has had around 40 transfusions since first receiving blood just minutes after he was born
Cancel three days in advance: Last year, one in four time slots were cancelled at short notice, while one in 10 simply failed to turn up – stopping others from replacing them
Now, donors who have reason to cancel are being asked to give at least three days’ notice so the slot can be given to someone else.
Mike Stredder, director of blood donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: ‘Demand for lifesaving blood doesn’t stop for Christmas. But stock levels can drop dramatically if too many donor appointments go missed or unfilled.
‘We need our loyal donors more than ever at this time of year to make sure hospitals have the blood that seriously ill children and adults will need over Christmas and the new year. Each donation can save up to three lives.’
Existing blood donors are being prioritised for appointments in the run-up to and over Christmas.
New donors who have registered but not yet donated are being asked to make an appointment for the new year.
Diamond-Blackfan Anemia: What is it and how is it treated?
Diamond-Blackfan Anemia is a type of anemia that’s caused when your bone marrow can’t make enough red blood cells to meet your body’s needs.
Children diagnosed with DBA are able to live long lives with medical treatment. And some go into complete remission, meaning the symptoms disappear for a time.
Two common treatments are blood transfusion therapy and corticosteroid medication. Some people might also consider a bone marrow transplant, although it is riskier. And finding a matching donor is often difficult. You should discuss all options with your doctor.
Corticosteroid drugs. Medications like prednisone (Rayos, Sterapred) can help make bone marrow produce more red blood cells.
Blood transfusion. If steroid drugs don’t work, or your child’s anemia becomes more severe, a blood transfusion is an option. Whole blood or red blood cells from a healthy donor can take the place of the blood cells your child’s body isn’t making.
Bone marrow/stem cell transplant. This treatment replaces damaged bone marrow with healthy stem cells from a donor. It is the only cure for DBA.
Source: Read Full Article