Heading North for fresh blood

By Mike Dinsdale -
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NZME regional news editor Edward Rooney gives blood at the New Zealand Trade Centre on Albert St, Auckland, during the Missing Type campaign. He is one of a tiny percentage of paediatric donors whose blood can be given to newborn babies.
NZME regional news editor Edward Rooney gives blood at the New Zealand Trade Centre on Albert St, Auckland, during the Missing Type campaign. He is one of a tiny percentage of paediatric donors whose blood can be given to newborn babies.

Northlanders can take part in the latest push for blood donors in person next week when the NZ Blood Service visits.

The Missing Type campaign, an international drive run in New Zealand by the Blood Service, with NZME - publisher of the Northern Advocate - and almost 80 other companies, ran last month, hoping to find a further 10,000 first-time donors.

The missing types were blood groups A and O, with the letters omitted from the Advocate's masthead at the campaign's start to highlight the need.

The campaign, which also ran in the Advocate's sister papers, included stories from blood donors and those who needed the life-saving donations just to live, including Northland boy Jethro Morrow.

Every week it takes 28 people to save 6-year-old Jethro's life. He suffers from a rare, life-threatening illness that destroys his red blood cells and causes acute kidney failure.

For six years he has been kept alive with a 420ml plasma infusion every Thursday. Each bag contains plasma from 14 donors and Jethro needs two bags. It amounts to almost 9000 plasma donations over the years.

"I am so grateful to the people that take the time to give plasma," said his mum, Shannon Gantley. "It certainly makes a huge difference to our lives."

When he was born, Jethro was the only person in New Zealand with the condition. Now there are six with the syndrome.

The response to the campaign was "overwhelming".

The Blood Service has so far had 3800 new donors.

It will visit Forum North from September 12-14, then the Northland Cricket Association from September 15-16.

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