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Edward Rooney is the Regional News Editor at NZME. News Service.

Lucky donor: 'I have dragon's blood'

My wife was three days overdue with the latest addition to the family when I was told my blood donor status had changed.

While she waited at the donation centre reception, I was being prepped for my regular contribution. A pin prick to check my iron levels and a couple of questions to double-check my history.

"Did you know you're a paediatric donor now?" the nurse asked. "No idea at all," I replied.

I could see my wife from where I went to stretch out on the chair, machine pumping blood from the drip inserted in my left arm. Using my available hand, I texted my wife: "What's a paediatric donor?"

It turns out some people can donate blood for babies because they are CMV negative, having never been exposed to the Cytomegalovirus (CMV).

This is important because the an infection from CMV for a low birth weight infant may be severe or even fatal.

Being O- my blood can also be given to anyone.

I didn't know all this paediatric stuff as I waited for the machine to beep, signaling the end of my contribution. But I did see my wife begin to cry.

Days later, baby Flynn arrived at last. He didn't need a transfusion but my wife - a midwife as it happens - knows I'm doing my bit when newborns start out with the odds stacked heavily against them.

I've told the other kids I have "dragon's blood". With the right roll of the genetic dice and luck in life, they will also.

How to donate

Visit the NZ Blood Service website for a list of donor sites and to see whether you are eligible

- Edward Rooney is regional news editor for NZME.

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