Anonymous donors save lives

Emerson Lievense is full of praise for hospital staff who treated him for a rare and aggressive form of cancer, but he will never know the identity of some of his biggest saviours.

These are the people who donated the blood that saved his life just before his 21st birthday, when his platelet count was up to 50 times lower than it should have been because of stage three non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

At the same time, a golden staph infection had sent his temperature soaring to more than 40 degrees, pushing him perilously close to death.

It is one of several blood transfusions he had during his seven-month battle with cancer.

Now aged 24, he has been in remission for 3½ years and still thinks of his anonymous blood donors.

"When I found out I had cancer, it was absolutely gut-wrenching," the electrical engineer said. "The people who rolled up their sleeve and donated blood truly saved my life."

Mr Lievense said one in three people need blood at some point in their life, but only one in 30 donate.

The potential for an imminent shortfall is big as WA heads into two consecutive long weekends. The Red Cross has launched an Easter blood drive to encourage people to factor a blood donation into their holiday plans.

Spokesman Shaun Inguanzo said the most at-risk blood supplies were short-lived stocks of platelets, which last only five days from collection and are vital to the treatment of cancer patients.

"Consecutive Easter and Anzac Day long weekends mean many regular donors will be on vacation," he said.

The West Australian

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