Meet some of the donors whose lifesaving blood was rushed to Manchester hospitals to treat patients on the night of the Manchester terror attack one year ago today.
Simon Hedges, 48 from Manchester
Simon donated on 18 May 2017 and his O Negative donation was blue lighted to Central Manchester Foundation Trust on the night of the Manchester terror attack.
I’m originally from Maidenhead in Berkshire. I moved to Manchester around 20 years ago and am a co-owner of a property with a close friend.
I became a donor by chance. A few of my colleagues from work were going to donate at a drop-in session and I tagged along. I knew I was O negative, but until then I wasn’t aware how important it was in being universally accepted and used in emergency instances when the blood group may not be known. Since then, I’ve made sure I attend whenever I possibly can.
I took part in a marathon recently, raising funds for Cancer Research UK in memory of my mum who sadly passed away 12 months earlier. During her treatment, she regularly needed blood transfusions, so it seems apt to me. It’s extremely rewarding to know that, directly or indirectly, my donation made a difference on such a tragic night.
Isabelle Orford, 25 from Salford
Isabelle donated on 12 May 2017 and her O Negative donation was blue lighted to Salford Royal Hospital on the night of the Manchester terror attack.
I’m 25, single and living in central Manchester. I moved from Bromley, Kent six and a half years ago to study and have been working at the Hallé Orchestra since I graduated.
I first gave blood in January 2010 and have donated 25 times. My mum is als a blood donor, donating 46 times herself, so there almost wasn’t any question that when I was old enough I would start donating as well.
I am not particularly squeamish around needles although I have always preferred to look away whilst donating. However, five to ten minutes of discomfort are quickly forgotten when you consider how many lives are impacted through blood donation – it’s such a simple way to make a huge difference. Somehowm the enormity of the donation I gave last May didn’t really register with me until I found out where it had gone. I’m so proud to have played a part in saving lives that night – directly or indirectly.
Beth Johnson, 18 from Irlam
Beth donated on 16 May 2017 and her O Negative donation was blue lighted to Central Manchester Foundation Trust on the night of the Manchester terror attack.
I am currently a Travel and Tourism undergraduate at Huddersfield University coming to the end of my first year.
When I’m not at University, I live at home in Manchester with my mum, dad and little sister. I became a blood donor because so many people in my family have always given blood and my uncle has had many operations which have resulted in him needing blood.
Also, I am O Negative and know how rare and valuable this blood type is for the NHS. I’m so glad my blood was potentially used to save the life of someone involved in something so horrific.
Sarah Handford, 45 from Chard, Somerset
Sarah donated on 17 May 2017 asnd her O Negative donation was blue lighted to Manchester Royal Infirmary on the night of the Manchester terror attack.
I have been married for 25 years, I have two children, aged 19 and 16, and have worked in finance all my life. I became a donor after my husband fell ill and was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. During his treatment he required plasma and blood transfusions from other donors and I realised that giving blood was vital.
I think it is vitally important that people are aware of the need to donate. I am so pleased my donation went to help in such tragic circumstances. I have the text on my phone informing me that my blood was sent to Manchester Royal Infirmary and I’m so proud of that.
Sandra Edwards, 53 from Surrey
Sandra donated on 2 May 2017 and her O Negative donation was blue lighted to North Manchester General H0spital on the night of the Manchester terror attack.
I’m 53 years old, married, no kids. I’ve worked for the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) for 30 years.
Originally, I volunteered to donate blood when I was at university but i was rejected as in those days they didn’t take anyone who was on asthma medication, which I was. Later, when I got the job at ICR, we used to have a mobile blood van come to site and that’s where I started donating, encouraged to try again by the medics in my lab team.
Working in cancer research, although I didn’t have direct patient contact, I was aware of the tories of tragedy and survival, and understood why blood donations were needed. I am so happy that my blood was used in such an emergency, It’s the first time I’ve been told where my donation was used and its quite inspirational.
Personally, I was further motivated when my only sister, a type 1 diabetic, eventually went in to renal failure and needed a transplant eight years ago. She had some blood transfusions herself and I was lucky enough to be a match as a kidney donor to her too. She is well now and off dialysis and remains an inspiration to me.
What inspires you to donate? Share your stories in the comments box below.