Bexley couple rack up 150 blood donations between them
PUBLISHED: 12:23 16 July 2013 | UPDATED: 12:23 16 July 2013
The sight of the smallest drop of blood is enough to make some people faint on the spot.
Thankfully, at the opposite end of the scale is Bexley couple Graham and Janet Caldicott, who between them have donated the red stuff 150 times over the course of almost 40 years.
They were recently honoured by NHS Blood and Transplant for their commitment to the life-saving procedure and Graham says their desire to donate so much blood is “no big deal.”
The 55-year-old said: “I think a bit of public service does us all some good. We started going as soon as we turned 18 – Janet and I were dating at the time – and we’ve always felt a lot of pride in helping people. We’re not heroes, we’re just doing our bit but it was a great feeling to be honoured.”
Multiple donors from Kent, London, Sussex and Surrey were recognised for their achievements in a Croydon ceremony last month and award winners at the event were told first-hand how donating blood can save someone’s life.
Guest of honour Jeremy Bover, of Gravesend, told how his daughter Georgina benefited from vital blood transfusions as part of a treatment for her rare kidney cancer.
Blood donation factfile
Healthy people between 17 and 60 can register as a blood donor and give until the age of 70.
Donors are asked to give blood two or three times a year. Only six per cent of the population donates.
Each time you will donate about 470ml of blood – it is quickly replaced by your body.
Once you have donated you should rest for a short time before having something to eat and drink. The whole process should not take more than an hour.
Just three per cent of the population who give blood do it 75 times or more, while only one per cent do it over 100 times.
Janet thinks reaching 100 is an achievable target because the blood donation service will still take your blood “as long as it is healthy”, although if you have not donated for the first time by the age of 60 then your ship has sailed.
Policeman Graham, of The Rise, added: “I’ve never really thought about people’s lives we might have helped, it’s just something we like doing.
“I’m surprised we’ve got this far but hopefully we’ve got a few more left in us.
“If you’re fit and healthy they’ll take your blood so maybe we can get to 100 each.
Donor relations manager John Canning said: “We are proud to reward these incredible people, these silent heroes, who have rolled up their sleeves so many times over the years to help save lives. Becoming a regular blood donor takes commitment and shows compassion.
“We need around 200,000 new registrations every year to replace those donors who can no longer donate so we hope that the stories of these dedicated doors will inspire new donors to come forward and sign up.”
Male donors can donate four times a year with minimum 12 week intervals while female donors can give blood on average 16 weeks or more apart to avoid the risk iron deficiency.
Janet, who is a art and design technician at Bexley Grammar School, said: “Although I don’t know anyone who has needed a blood donation, I occasionally think about people I might have helped.
“I’m amazed that we got to so many and I expect we’ll get to 100 if they still take our blood.”
To book an appointment call the donor line on 0300 123 23 23 or visit blood.co.uk.
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