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Give blood to help Archie from Methwold and other children who need the greatest gift this Christmas

PUBLISHED: 16:06 14 November 2014 | UPDATED: 16:06 14 November 2014

Archie Ramshaw, who needs regular transfusions. Picture: Submitted.

Archie Ramshaw, who needs regular transfusions. Picture: Submitted.

Archant

Archie Ramshaw may be only 11 years old, but a rare blood disorder means that he has already had more blood transfusions than most people will need in their lifetime.

Needy times ahead

More than 200,000 blood donations are needed before Christmas.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) say supplies “drop dramatically” during the run up the festive season as people are more busy with shopping and extended holidays.

Last year one in five blood donor appointments were missed over Christmas, putting NHS Blood and Transplant’s critical operation under unnecessary pressure.

Jon Latham, NHSBT assistant director said: “At this time of year many people want to give something more than material gifts. A blood donation truly is the gift only you can give and with one single donation you can save or improve up to three lives.”

Donations are used to treat patients with cancer, anaemia, after accidents, childbirth complications and during surgery.

And 12,500 platelet donations are needed to help treat patients with blood disorders and those who have undergone transplants.

Every blood donation is vital, but the NHS are particulary keen to increase stocks for rarer blood groups such as O Rh Negative, A Rh Negative, B Rh Negative and AB Rh Negative.

The four main blood groups are O, A, B and AB. A regular supply of all blood groups is vital – red cells last 35 days and platelets only 7 days.

Currently the NHSBT collects 1.8m units of blood each year from over 23,000 blood donation sessions in more than 3,000 venues but only 4pc of the eligible population are active blood donors.

To book an appointment to donate visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 2323 to find your nearest session.

Appointments can also be booked and managed through mobile apps for Windows, Android and Apple devices. To download the app, search ‘NHSGiveBlood’ in the app store.

Donors can search for sessions, change their contact details, book appointments and change/cancel their appointments in real time on www.blood.co.uk.

NHSBT’s donor line - 0300 123 23 23 - is available 24/7.

If you give blood, you might even be one of those who’s helped to save his life.

Archie, from Methwold, has an extremely rare form of anaemia, called Congenital Sideroblastic Anaemia.

The condition means that his bone marrow is unable to produce healthy blood cells and stops Archie´s body transferring the iron in his blood into haemoglobin, which red cells need to transport oxygen efficiently.

Archie needs to have blood transfusions of healthy red cells every two weeks.

Craig Ramshaw, Archie’s dad, said: “The whole blood transfusion process can take a full day. Firstly, Archie will have a meeting with the paediatric consultant and then he needs to be cross-matched to ensure that he receives the correct blood type.

“Once the results are in, and this can take a few hours, Archie will go on to have his transfusion which usually lasts around four hours.”

Mr Ramshaw said that Archie, a pupil at the Iceni Academy, Methwold, showed symptoms of his anaemia a few years before he was diagnosed in October 2010.

“He was lethargic as a baby,” said Mr Ramshaw. “We went backwards and forwards many times until he was diagnosed. But he copes incredibly well and this is normal life for him now.”

Before his son’s diagnosis, Mr Ramshaw, like many others never got round to giving blood.

Now he regularly makes donations and knows first-hand of the importance.

He said: “It can change a person’s life. Archie has already had 200 units of blood. Through Archie, my wife and I have become champions for blood donation. Archie´s quality of life depends on the blood that he receives and he is being kept alive by the generous act of giving blood.”

Archie has his own website to tell others of his journey, click here to visit.

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