Blood donor has saved up to 300 lives

Catherine Fitzhugh, right, at the awards ceremony
Catherine Fitzhugh, right, at the awards ceremony

A dedicated blood donor from Buckingham has been recognised by NHS Blood and Transplant for her loyalty and commitment.

Catherine Fitzhugh, aged 76, has been a donor for 57 years and has given blood 100 times – a milestone reached by only one per cent of donors.

Catherine was one of 31 blood and platelet donors from the region who were honoured with commemorative medals at a ceremony in Luton in February. All of them have given at least 100 blood donations or 250 platelet donations, saving up to 11,850 lives between them.

Each blood donation can save the lives of up to three people, so if a donor gives blood 100 times they have potentially helped save the lives of 300 patients. A platelet donation can help up to three adults or 12 babies.

Catherine said: “I was 21 years old when I first started to donate blood, back in 1961.

“I began donating because I genuinely wanted to help other people. I love the feeling that I get after every donation – it is knowing that I’m truly helping to save lives.”

Guest speaker at the awards ceremony, Matthew Speight, needed four units of blood during a life-saving operation, after he suffered a perforated ulcer in his stomach and lost six units of blood.

Also speaking was Sidney Abbott, whose granddaughter, Holly May, was diagnosed with an aggressive tumour at just 22 months old. She underwent months of gruelling treatment at Addenbrookes Hospital, during which she was given numerous platelet and blood transfusions.

Thankfully, Holly May got through an extremely difficult time and is now a happy seven-year-old attending school and enjoying life to its fullest.

For information about giving blood, call the Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk