Cambridgeshire platelet donor reaches remarkable donation milestone

Iain Rickerby with Charlie Beetle.

Iain Rickerby with Charlie Beetle. - Credit: Archant

A committed platelet donor who has saved hundreds of lives shows no sign of slowing down.

Iain Rickerby, 47, of St Ives, has donated platelets more than 500 times over the past 29 years.

Mr Rickerby has a precious platelet type - HPA1a negative - which has meant he has helped the lives of many pre-natal patients and those with compromised immune transfusions.

He said: “I’d always seen the good that the blood transfusion people do and thought that I’d see if I could help.

“I felt a sense of community and also, as is often quoted, you never know when you or your family will need a transfusion.

“It seems amazing that it has mounted up over the years – I hope I can continue for some time to come.

“It’s really not that bad and you do get that warm fuzzy feeling that you are helping people when all you are giving up really is time.”

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The platelets, which are tiny cells in the blood that help to stem blood loss by enabling clotting, can be used to help cancer or leukaemia sufferers undergoing chemotherapy.

Derek Carr, lead donor relations manager for Cambridge at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “The time and dedication shown by Mr Rickerby over several decades is to be highly commended.

“Many patients owe their lives to his donations and an achievement like this cannot be under estimated.

“There is always a need for new blood and platelet donors to come forward so we hope his story will encourage others to follow in his footsteps and ultimately save and improve the lives of many more patients in need. He is an inspiration to us all.”

Men are more likely to be suitable platelet donors because they usually have a higher blood volume than women.

Female donors are also welcome but they will need to have a second blood test to screen for white cell antibodies which can develop, particularly following a pregnancy.

You could become a platelet donor if you are between 17 and 65.

If you are aged 66 to 70 you need to have given blood before, and if you are over 70 then you need to have given a full blood donation in the last two years.

To find out more about platelet donation and book an appointment, visit www.blood.co.uk/platelets or contact 0300 123 23 23.

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