It was big celebrations this week as the NIBTS blood donation session hosted in The St. Paul’s High School hit historic milestone of 1000 blood donors in 10 years.
The creation of the blood drive was led by Roisin and Emma Martin in 2013, when local school boy Ryan Cinnamond suffered from an aortic aneurysm requiring 64 units of blood during his life saving operation, the highest recipient of blood donations in a single surgery in Northern Ireland. Ryan was given a 10% chance of survival, losing seven litres of blood during 10 hours of surgery and having survived after having both legs amputated from the knee.
Ryan - now a personal trainer -reflects on the success of the sessions at St. Paul’s High School, “It means a lot to myself.. and the community because we’re giving back to the ones who need it the most. No one realizes how much blood is needed, I didn’t, nor would anyone else at my age. I was studying for my GSCE exams and had a pain in my back, the next day I walked down the stairs and I was sick and couldn’t feel my legs, I blacked out. I remember the ambulance coming and that was it. St. Paul’s were amazing, the school came behind me and without them I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in today. And that goes for everyone else in the school, they rally behind everyone, it’s a community spirit, the teachers, the staff, they’re always behind you 100% of the way.”
Principal of St. Paul’s Jarlath Burns said,” I first gave blood 10 years ago when we began hosting these blood drives, and we’re very proud to work with the Blood Transfusion Service. This is something we really value because it’s our pupils who set it up at the very beginning, and they wanted us to give something back because of what happened to Ryan Cinnamond and to say thank you to the doctors and surgeons who saved his life and to the Blood Transfusion Service. Our crest says ‘Caritate in radicati’ which is latin for ‘Rooted in Charity’ and the word ‘caritate’ that’s where the Irish word ‘croí’ comes from which means heart, we’re giving from our heart, and for all those reasons your giving from your heart, which is very relevant to us.
The aim for Roisin and Emma was that they didn’t want to ask people for money, we wanted to see if we could the 64 units of blood back for the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service. To have achieved 1000 donors, the need for blood is never ending and it’s about paying it forward. No one knows the minute that we’re going to need a blood donation ourselves, our message is give blood save a life.”
Ryan concludes, “You’re definitely saving a life, what more satisfaction could you get being able to help someone like myself. Please keep donating blood whenever it’s around your local area.”
Across the day there were over 113 donors that attended the session but the 1000th donation was made by Andrew McKee from Hamiltonsbawn has made 18 previous donations, but his 19th was very special.
'It is fantastic to have the annual support from Roisin in the St Paul’s high school session and the reality is 1000 donations will have positively impacted up to 3000 local Northern Ireland lives. As this local community knows so well, giving blood truly does save lives. We always have a need for new donors to join our blood donor panel so please go to NIBTS.ORG to book your appointment. Alternatively, we are always look for new venue across the province so if you feel your organization or school could host a session reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org.' Jennifer McErlean, Blood Donor Engagement Manager.