“I have transfusions every three weeks” - East Harling woman makes plea for more blood donors

Emily Robb from East Harling who has a rare blood condition called Diamond Black Fan Anaemia.

Emily Robb from East Harling who has a rare blood condition called Diamond Black Fan Anaemia. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

A 20-year-old woman who was born with a rare condition which means she has to undergo a life-saving transfusion every three weeks is urging more people to donate blood.

Emily Robb, from East Harling, while receiving a blood transfusion

Emily Robb, from East Harling, while receiving a blood transfusion - Credit: Archant

Emily Robb, from East Harling, has diamond blackfan anaemia, a condition which means her bone marrow does not produce red blood cells properly.

There are only around 200 recorded cases of the condition in the UK, and 1,000 worldwide.

She attends the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital's Weybourne Day Unit every three weeks to undergo six hour-long transfusions to boost her red blood cell levels, and keep her alive.

She said without donations, her life would have turned out to be very different, and has a message for anyone new to donating.


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'Without blood donations, I wouldn't be here, and I thank anyone who does it,' she added.

'For anyone who hasn't, they should do it because donations save so many lives. Even doing it once will save someone's life.'

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Miss Robb's parents, Rachel and Steve, discovered their daughter had diamond blackfan anaemia around six months after she was born, following testing. She has undergone transfusions ever since.

Her father, Steve, echoed his daughter's thanks. 'We are so grateful to anyone who donates,' he said. 'I go and do it now and we encourage friends and family to as well. It really is a lifesaver for Emily.'

Despite her rigorous treatment schedule, the condition did not stop Miss Robb from completing her sixth-form studies.

She has also travelled to Australia five times to see family, having one transfusion just before leaving, and another when she returns.

She also takes medication to keep her iron levels down, but said she rarely gets ill otherwise.

Are you raising awareness of a health issue? Email health correspondent Nicholas Carding at nicholas.carding@archant.co.uk

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