Birmingham girl’s plea to raise public awareness for donors
A young Irish girl who is bravely living with Cystic Fibrosis is calling on the public to donate blood.
Birmingham-based Rhiannon Fuller, whose grandparents are Irish and whose mother Marie Galvin grew up in Willesden and Harlesden’s Irish community, was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when she was just a few months old. She was later diagnosed with Aplastic Anaemia. Her treatment for both conditions has involved many blood transfusions over the years and her reliance on donated blood may continue.
Rhiannon, now 12, said: “My experience of hospitals started from a very young age. I have to go into hospital every eight weeks for two weeks at a time to be given medicine to clear out my lungs.”
Remembering when she was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia, Rhiannon added: “Luckily, a bone marrow donor was found very quickly and within months of being diagnosed, I received chemotherapy, and was given my bone marrow transplant. I’m here because of my bone marrow donor and all those donors who come along to give blood. “I can’t explain how big an impact the generosity of blood donors has had on my future. I am so grateful to every single blood donor. You are helping to save someone’s life. And that someone has been me. But I also know that to have a future, I will still need your support.”
Rhiannon’s aunt is also supporting the call for more people to donate blood. Maria Rua, from Mill Hill, works as a Donor Advocate at NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT). NHSBT is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority that helps provide a reliable supply of blood to the NHS in England and North Wales. It is also the organ donor organisation for Britain and is responsible for matching and allocating donated organs. Just four per cent of the eligible population are active blood donors.
Maria said: “The fact that donors come freely to give blood is very overwhelming, especially when you have witnessed firsthand as I have how vital it is to some people’s lives. “As a family, we talk about Rhiannon’s treatment regularly, especially as I work for NHSBT, and we are all very grateful for all the blood donations she has received. But we are constantly trying to recruit new blood donors.”
If you want to register and become a donor contact 0300 123 23 23 for more details. Donor sessions are planned in the Brent and Ealing area at St Joseph’s Social Club, Empire Way, Wembley, HA9 0RJ on November 8 from 1-3pm and 4.30-7.30pm. Another session takes place at Ealing Town Hall, New Broadway, Ealing, London W5 2BY on November 13 from 12.45-3pm and 4.30-7.30pm. Please call 0300 123 23 23 to make an appointment or email [email protected]