The Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service have appealed for new blood donors to volunteer as they prepare to hold a donation session in honour of a young County Derry man.
Ozzie Rogers passed away in September 2020 after battling Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, and as they approach what would have been his 18th birthday, his family have appealed for more blood donors.
Ahead of a blood donation event to be held at Magherafelt High School, where Ozzie attended, his mum Miranda has thanked existing blood donors for their generosity and encouraged others to get involved.
“We lost count of how many units [of blood] Ozzie received, but I would say if it wasn't for the generosity of selfless people he would not have had nearly two years of life,” she said.
“Myself and my husband now donate regularly as we never realised how much cancer patients rely on blood and platelets throug the course of their treatment.”
In a heartfelt plea, Miranda has described how Ozzie received his first blood infusion the day after his diagnosis in October 2018.
“Ozzie was a normal, active 17-year-old teenager,” she said.
“He loved rock music and especially enjoyed playing his guitar. He was a keen rugby player and one Saturday he came off the pitch saying it was his best game.
“By the Wednesday evening at training, he struggled even to warm up. After a visit to his doctor in October 2018 and bloods taken, he was admitted to Children's Hospital and diagnosed.
Ozzie was a keen musician and rugby player.
“The very next day after diagnosis, he was up in theatre, central line put in and his first blood transfusion. Chemo started straight away and blood and platelets was nearly a daily occurence.
“He was in hospital for over 100 days whilst chemo and a targeted drug killed the leukaemia and his bloods recovered.
“Ozzie went on to a bone marrow transplant in Bristol and again received numerous life-saving units of blood and platelets.
“Sadly, in April 2020, he relapsed and spent another 12 weeks in hospital needing transfusions.”
This week, the NI Blood Transfusion Service will be holding two donation sessions in Ozzie's former secondary school, Magherafelt High School.
Branded #18before18, the event hopes to register 18 fresh blood donors by the date of Ozzie's 18th birthday on May 7.
The first session in Magherafelt will take place today (April 6) from 10.30am to 1.00pm and 2.15pm to 5.15pm and tomorrow (April 7) from 1.00pm to 4.00pm and 5.00pm to 7.30pm.
All donations are by appointment only and those interested are asked to call 08085 534 653 to book.
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