I was born at 26 weeks, 14 weeks early, weighing 1.12 pounds and 23cm in length - blood donors are the only reason I'm still alive today
I received 27 blood transfusions during the first few weeks of my life at Westmead Children's Hospital in Sydney. The numerous needle scars dotted across my hands and feet are a daily reminder of the kindness of a stranger.
The generosity of one man played a major role in saving my life. My parents never met him, we never even knew his name, but every week this anonymous hero donated blood just for me.
This story was regularly told at the dinner table when I was growing up, and it was a must-tell for every birthday, graduation or milestone.
Anaemia of Prematurity occurs in nearly all babies weighing less than a kilogram. To combat this multiple blood transfusions are given to premature babies within the first few weeks of life.
After 10 weeks in Neonatal Intensive Care - laying in a humidicrib, hooked up to oxygen, covered in tubes and wires - I slowly grew stronger.
But my situation was still precarious. Brain hemorrhages and a myriad of daily challenges are faced by all premature babies.
Fighting against the odds I survived to tell my story.
I was in hospital for a total of 13 weeks, including two weeks in Special Care at Westmead and a week at Goulburn Base Hospital.
Thanks to the care of staff at the hospital, blood donations, and love from my parents I was finally able to return home a week before my original due date - Christmas Eve.
Currently, there is a significant shortage of life-saving blood across the country. Without donations I would not have survived.
One blood donation can save three lives with a donation needed every 24 seconds to meet the ongoing needs of Australian patients.
I share my story because I want people to know the true value of being a blood donor. With this week being National Blood Donor Week the message is more important than ever.
Donating blood takes an hour at most but the impact of this act of kindness lasts a lifetime.
To book a donation or find out more call 13 14 95 or visit lifeblood.com.au
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