'Be a hero and help to save people's lives'
A BRISTOL woman has hailed blood donors as her heroes.
Juliet Iswan has to have 13 units of red blood cells every six weeks to keep her alive.
And she is encouraging more people to give blood to help herself and other recipients.
The 34-year-old was speaking as it emerged that the jubilee bank holiday caused blood donations to fall by seven per cent.
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NHS Blood and Transplant, which has a regional blood processing centre at Filton, said that even regular donors tend to miss appointments during national events and celebrations as people become distracted and routines are disrupted. And they are expecting the Olympics to have a similar effect
The service has used its annual National Blood Week to encourage more people to save the lives of people like Ms Iswan by donating blood.
She was born with the blood disorder sickle cell anaemia and in December 2009 suffered a stroke. Since then she has needed the regular blood-cell exchanges to ease the horrific headaches she suffers as a result. Because she has so many donations Ms Islet, who lives in the city centre, has to have a specific type of blood.
"I love blood donors, they help people like me," she said.
"They are my heroes.
"It's the only reason I'm still alive. It is very important – so important that my partner goes out and gives blood more often because he sees the change it has in me. I am just so grateful to everyone who donates and I would love to encourage people to go out and donate."
Ms Iswan says that she goes in to the blood centre at Southmead barely able to open her eyes due to the headaches she suffers, but as she starts receiving the blood cells she becomes a new person.
"Once I have had it it's like a weight has been lifted. It really makes a difference.
"It really works and I am a living example of what can be achieved with blood donations."
To find out more about donating blood visit www.blood.co.uk.
Or to make an appointment to give blood contact 0300 123 23 23.