Two years ago, 8-year-old Emily Woller was diagnosed with cancer.

Today, Emily is bravely fighting the disease, and along with chemotherapy and countless forms of medication, there's one other thing Emily wouldn't be here without - donated blood.

The Wanganui Chronicle yesterday joined a worldwide campaign to highlight the need for blood donations when the masthead on our website dropped the letters O and A for the day.

Emily has acute lymphocystic leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Her mum Amanda Smith said receiving blood transfusions is invaluable for Emily.

Advertisement

"She was knocking on death's door, and if she didn't have the blood transfusion, we would have lost her pretty much," Ms Smith said.

The Aramaho family has been travelling between Whanganui and Auckland every week for treatment, often paying for travel expenses and a range of unsubsidised medication.

Money can cover expenses but there is no alternative for blood. For patients such as Emily who need transfusions, the real thing is the only option.

Ms Smith said the first transfusion Emily received saved her life.

"The first one was pretty crucial - it was pretty serious, she got really low. If she didn't have the blood transfusion, there was some serious outcomes," she said.

Ms Smith said Emily has now received seven transfusions, each of which has allowed Emily to keep as strong and healthy as possible and fight on.

"Before we went through all of this, I thought 'what do they really need all this blood for?' It's not until you go through it yourself that you realise."

The letters O and A went missing from signage of New Zealand's top companies and charities yesterday and around the world in a life-saving bid for blood.

Medical blood collection agencies in 21 countries latched on to a highly successful marketing campaign, called Missing Type, which had its first run in Britain last year.

Global megabrands such as McDonald's, Google, Coca-Cola and Microsoft were among businesses which removed the letters from their websites, Twitter handles and signage to help promote the UK National Health Service's appeal for new blood donors last year.

More than 30,000 people registered to donate.

This year, the NZ Blood Service received commitments from several brands to join the campaign in a bid to sign up 10,000 eligible donors.

As well as the Wanganui Chronicle online, others to join the New Zealand campaign included Pak'nSave, New World, Tip Top, nzherald.co.nz.

The Blood Service said the supermarket chains are this week removing Os and As from the subject lines of emails to loyalty card scheme members. TradeMe has created missing-type advertisements for its website.

The owners of several iconic advertising installations - including the hillside "Wellington" sign above the capital's airport, the L&P bottle in Paeroa and the Ohakune carrot - had agreed to remove the letters from digital images during the campaign. But as part of the top secret move, the brands provided no explanation until this morning, confusing many readers and consumers.

The Child Cancer Foundation wrote on its Facebook page: "Wh-t d- y-u think is g-ing -n? W-uldn't y-u like to kn-w! Watch this space to find out more #MissingType #NZBlood."
The Starship Foundation wrote: "W-uldn't y-u like t- kn-w!"