A 16-year-old Auckland girl who was put in an induced coma after a suspected cold wants to share her story about a blood donation that saved her life.

Molly Baker is speaking up as the New Zealand Blood Service celebrates 20 years on Sunday.

She is one of more than 500,000 New Zealanders who have been saved by blood donors since the service has been running.

Baker was rushed to Auckland City Hospital in June last year after being bounced between general practices and other hospitals with what she was thought was a common cold.

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To her shock, the high school student was diagnosed with all organ failure from septic shock caused by influenza B - as well as an infection called staphylococcus aureus.

"I was only sick for a couple of days... it was all very sudden."

Doctors found more than a litre of bacteria fluid in her lungs and she was quickly put in an induced coma, which lasted for the next five weeks, before spending another month in the respiratory ward.

Molly in an induced coma at Auckland City Hospital. Photo/Supplied
Molly in an induced coma at Auckland City Hospital. Photo/Supplied

Baker said if it wasn't for the blood donations she wouldn't be here.

"I was on my last strand and there was a chance that I wouldn't make it out.

"While I was in a coma, the blood donations helped my body fight back which was basically the only thing keeping me alive."

It will take up to three years for Baker to fully recover but she counts herself lucky, as others weren't so fortunate.

"I remember a man from India in his 20s who passed away three days after arriving in Auckland and a 2-year-old... it's most common in young people."

New Zealand Blood Service chief executive Sam Cliffe offered a big heartfelt thank you to all the donors who have saved lives.

"We don't pay them and for people to take time out of their busy days really means a lot and goes a long way."

Cliffe said the service had grown a lot over the past 20 years and it was a milestone worth celebrating.

"It used to be just whole blood and now we use products made from blood, like plasma and protein products signalling huge advancements in medicine," Cliffe said.

Quick stats:

- Over half a million Kiwi lives have been saved or improved by blood donors in the past 20 years.

- More than 600,000 New Zealanders have donated blood in that time.

- The highest number of blood transfusions ever given at one time in New Zealand occurred on November 14, 2007, when a single patient received 106 whole blood transfusions.