Andy’s special award for 40 years of giving blood

Edinburgh 111003 SNBTS Awards Ceremony (9)
Edinburgh 111003 SNBTS Awards Ceremony (9)

A BELLSHILL man has been given a special award to recognise the amount of blood he had donated over the past 40 years.

Andy McArthur received the accolade, for donating platelets, at the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service’s awards ceremony in the City of Edinburgh Council Chambers.

For the last four decades Andy, of Rosewood Avenue, has been a regular visitor to apheresis donor suites in Glasgow and Edinburgh - apheresis is the by through which blood is passed through an apparatus that separates out one particular constituent and returns the remainder to the circulation.

As well as whole blood there is a steady requirement for platelets, the blood clotting agent present in blood. When a person is ill or has an accident a blood transfusion is sometimes the only way to save life.

Andy said he was very proud of his achievement and estimates that in the past 40 years he has donated 400 times - equivalent to 2,500 litres of plasma from which platelets are drawn from.

He calculated that he has spent in total of 1,600 hours or 124 full days on the couch donating.

He has just retired from his job as a technician with BT and said he was fortunate that his job had allowed him the time to go along to donate plasma every four weeks, rather than the ‘full’ blood which many regular donors give but which can only be given three or four times a year.

Andy said he had been ‘inspired’ to start donating in his teens when he was a student.

He said: “I was at Anniesland College in Glasgow when our lecturer told us that if we went to give a pint of blood we could get away early - so a group of us did just that!”

During the ceremony speakers from the SNBTS outlined the work which goes on and the benefits that donors blood products provide.

Andy said: “It was a very humbling experience. When you hear the stories of how so many lives are saved, and how people who have leukaemia can enjoy a better life, it makes you grateful for good health.”