Dublin Fire Brigade show support for life-saving appeal

By Mary Dennehy

DUBLIN Fire Brigade has this week shown its support for a life-saving appeal for platelet donations.

According to the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS), there are currently 2,000 platelet donors in Ireland – with a callout being made for new donors to join the panel.

Platelets Hi 16 compressor

Stephen O'Reilly, Stephen Bonfil, Philip Stanley, Gordon Lambe, Dáithi O'Reilly, Eugene Maher, Peter Navan (District Officer) and Darren Donovan  (Image: Trevor Hunt)

Around 90 per cent of platelets donated are used in the treatment of cancer and leukemic patients, with the rest supporting new born babies and burns victims.

Living in Kilnamanagh, firefighter Dáithi O’Reilly has made 150 platelet donations in the past decade.

 “I never heard of platelet donation until around 10 years ago”, Dáithí told The Echo.

“We do a lot of medical work in the ambulance and see first hand the need for platelets.

“Platelet donation is so important, and what you donate goes directly into a patient that needs it.”

Based in Dolphins Barn fire station, Dáithí now donates platelets every 28 days.

“Each donation takes between 50 and 70 minutes”, he said.

“It’s simple and straight forward and is the right thing to do.”

Earlier this week, the IBTS visited the station in Dolphins Barn to give a lunchtime talk to firefighters on platelet donation.

Speaking with The Echo after, Jo Lawlor, National Apheresis Recruitment and Relationship Manager, said that members of the public are also being encouraged to consider platelet donation.

People interested are invited to book into the clinic on the grounds of St James’s Hospital for an assessment.

An assessment takes 45 minutes and includes a blood sample, checking suitability of veins and a platelet count.

People who sign-up as donors are asked to donate platelets at least six times a year.

“We work on an appointment system so, if you are suitable and come to give platelets it takes around one hour 30 minutes”, Ms Lawlor said.

“There’s no waiting around.

“And within that timeframe you will give two life-saving platelet donations for two patients.

“Platelets only survive for five days outside the body, so within 24 hours they are in a hospital.”

She added: “We’d like to say a big thank you to Dublin Fire Brigade, which is helping us to push this appeal.

“They’re amazing, and we have a good few firefighters on the panel already.”

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service has two platelet clinics, one on the grounds of St James’s Hospital and a second in Cork, which provide platelets to hospitals nationwide.

There are 1,500 donors attached to the Dublin clinic and 500 in Cork.

Anybody interested in learning more about platelet donation is encouraged to call 4322833 or visit www.giveblood.ie.

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