Donors with rare blood types sought
The New Zealand Blood Service is seeking blood donors who have rare blood types after the retirement of one of its most prolific givers.
Graeme Thomas, 72, retired from donating blood last week after giving his 550th donation.
Mr Thomas’ blood type and special antibodies carried in his plasma meant his donations had been used to make the Anti-D injection for pregnant mothers for the past 45 years.
The injection helps protect babies from the potentially life-threatening outcomes of haemolytic disease of the newborn.
Mr Thomas donated an estimated 385 litres of plasma during the decades after discovering that his blood type was possessed by only one in 10 people.
His Rh-negative blood type was part of what made him an ideal candidate to assist in producing the Anti-D injection.
‘‘It is such a big thing to save a life, yet it is relatively easy thing to donate blood,’’ he says.
He made the decision to retire following medical advice.
The New Zealand Blood Service is now looking for people to fill his seat at the donor centre, spokesman Paul Hayes says.
‘‘Only by donating for the first time can we identify a person’s blood type and therefore how their donations can be used to help save lives,’’ Mr Hayes says.