After breaking her legs in five places following a moped accident, Charlotte Bath needed three blood transfusions.
Donating blood was something the now 20-year-old of Highgate Road, in Copnor, Portsmouth, had never thought of.
But her twin sister Hayley has been a regular donor since the age of 18 – something Charlotte only learnt about recently.
The pair are backing our Give Blood This Christmas campaign.
We’re working with NHS Blood and Transplant to get 200 new, young donors signed up.
Charlotte, a receptionist, explains why blood tranfusions were vital for her recovery.
She says: ‘I ended up with broken bones in both my legs.
‘I remember when I had the accident as it was Friday 13, in May last year.
‘I had to have three blood transfusions, and until then I had never really thought about donating blood.
‘Then I found out my sister Hayley had been donating for about three years already.
‘I never even realised she was doing such an amazing thing. And it’s because of people like her that meant I had my transfusions.’
Charlotte was on her moped going to Hayling Island where she worked at the time.
She says: ‘I was on my moped and was working in Hayling Island. I was going down Havant Road and a car pulled out on me.
‘All the impact was on my legs and I broke them in five places. I was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, and had four operations in the space of a week.
‘I’ve had three more since then and have had metal in my legs to give them support.
‘It is so unbelievable about what happened. And I can’t believe I was able to walk again in six months.
‘I feel so lucky to be here and to have survived something like that.
‘The transfusions really helped, as I had lost a lot of blood, and that’s why I urge people to register on to the donor list if they can.
‘It only takes a small part of your day, but could be saving someone’s life.
‘It’s also good if people with rare blood groups go forward, because you never know when you will help someone else.’
It’s a message endorsed by charity worker Hayley.
She says: ‘I really wanted to help other people and it is a nice thing to do.
‘When I turned 18 I thought I would start. I heard about other people doing it and I thought that it’s an easy way to help others and doesn’t take long to do.
‘If other people hadn’t been donating blood, then my sister wouldn’t have got the help that she needed when she was having the operations.
‘It’s pretty easy to do and you can register online, so really doesn’t take much time.
‘If you can donate then do it.’
The News wants to help drive up blood donors before Christmas Eve.
According to NHSBT, in Portsmouth 2,012 new donors signed up in 2010/2011.
But between 2011/2012, there were only 1,813 new sign-ups.
In Fareham, there were 696 new sign-ups, in 2010/2011, compared to 678, in 2011/2012.
And Gosport also saw a drop in people registering to become blood donors.
In 2010/2011, there were 703 new people taking part, but this dropped to 611, in 2011/2012.
Havant was the only district in the Portsmouth area to see an increase in donor numbers.
In 2010/2012, the area saw 671 people sign up.
In the following year, this rose slightly to 686.
Donor eligibilty and how to register
FOR any nervous new donor, here is advice on what to do to prepare yourself for a donation. The advice has been given by NHS Blood and Transplant, which organisations donor sessions. It gives the following information:
· Distractions help reduce nervousness so bring an MP3 player, book or a friend along with you to the donation session.
· On the day of donation and the evening before, drink plenty of fluids. Avoid alcohol.
· Regular meals before donating are necessary for maintaining blood sugars and ward off light-headedness.
· A good night’s sleep the evening before is beneficial to wellbeing and recovery.
· Tight clothing around the arms restricts blood flow and can cause bruises, so wear something loose and comfortable.
· Eligibility criteria to donate may vary so know your medical, body piercing and travel history to avoid delays. The top reasons people are deferred from sessions are they feel unwell, taking a course of antibiotics, dental work, cardiovascular conditions, infection within the past two weeks, being on a hospital waiting list or undergoing medical tests, travel, and piercings/tattoos.
Tips to prepare yourself to donate
THERE are some criteria to meet in order to become a blood donor.
Anyone aged between 17 and 65, weighing more than 50kg (7st 12lb) and in general good health could potentially start saving lives by becoming a blood donor. There is no upper age limit for donors who have donated in the past two years. People can register in a number of ways:
· They can attend any of the sessions listed on the right hand side of this page and speak to a member of staff.
· People can visit blood.co.uk and register online.
· The News is working with NHS Blood and Transplant to get 200 new blood donors on to the register.
If you are a new donor then The News would like to hear from you.
Once you have registered, then let health reporter Priya Mistry know.
People are asked to give their name, age, address, contact number and the reason for registering to donate blood.
At the end of the campaign, a roll of honour will be printed in the paper.
New donors can email email@example.com. They can call (023) 9262 2130.
Or write to: Give Blood This Christmas, The News, The News Centre, London Road, Hilsea, Portsmouth, PO2 9SX.
Where you can give blood
· Tomorrow Thorngate Halls, Bury Road, Gosport: 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
· Friday, December 7, Wickham Community Centre, Mill Lane, Wickham: 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
· Monday, December 10, Holiday Inn, Cartwright Drive, Titchfield: 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
· Tuesday, December 11, St Swithin’s Church, Waverley Road, Southsea: 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
· Wednesday, December 12, Fratton Park, The Victory Lounge, Fratton Way, Portsmouth, from 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
· Friday, December 14, Porchester Community Centre, Westlands Grove, Porchester: 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
· Monday, December 17, Holiday Inn, Cartwright Drive, Titchfield: 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
· Wednesday, December 19, Waltham Chase Village Hall, Winchester Road, Waltham Chase: 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
· Thursday, December 20, Petersfield Festival Hall, Heath Road, Petersfield: 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
· Friday, December 21, All Saints Church, Hambledon Road, Denmead: 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
· Monday, December 24, Sarisbury Green Community Centre, The Green, Sarisbury Green: 10am to 12.25pm and 1.45pm to 4.15pm.