Donors with rare blood types sought

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

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.

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