Your blood’s worth bottling, says Hamish

FIVE-year-old leukaemia survivor Hamish Fisher is living proof that by giving blood at the Bendigo Donor Centre we can all help save lives.Hamish was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia – juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia – when he was just eight months old.Juvenile myelomonocytic leuk-aemia is a chronic form of cancer of the blood that affects children aged four and younger.Hamish’s parents feared the worst for Hamish after he underwent two lots of chemotherapy, several blood transfusions and a bone marrow transplant from a cord blood donation to fight off the disease.The intense rounds of chemotherapy destroyed his bone marrow and numerous blood transfusions were required to support his system while new bone marrow regenerated. Had it not been for the life-saving blood donations of regular and new donors, Hamish’s chances of survival would have been drastically reduced.According to a Red Cross Blood Service spokesperson, cancer and leukaemia sufferers are among the highest recipients (45 per cent) in need of blood donations.More than 40 blood donations are needed to treat a patient with acute leukaemia for one month.With the average length of treatment for blood cancers lasting eight months, the ongoing need for blood donors is ongoing and vital.“In some cases, without blood products from donors including stem cells, leukaemia survivors wouldn’t be here to talk about the importance of donating blood to help others,’’ the Red Cross spokesperson said.Hamish’s parents said their son owed his life to many people because without the support of the numerous blood products he simply would not have survived.The Red Cross spokesperson said: “With so many organisations out there today requesting donations, a blood donation is the most simple, cost effective gift a donor can provide directly to someone with a potentially life-threatening illness.’’For more information or to don-ate, telephone 13 1495.

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