Launch of new videos to support the care of children and young patients

A MOTHER who needed intrauterine blood transfusions during her pregnancy and a man who depends on regular and lifesaving blood donation are encouraging communities in Wales to give “the best gift” this Christmas by donating blood.

The Welsh Blood Service is preparing to face winter pressures on its services and hope its new Christmas campaign, “The Best Gift”, will raise awareness of the importance of donating blood and the vital difference it makes.

Last December, more than 900 donations of blood and blood products were needed across Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire to provide care to patients at Prince Philip, Withybush, Bronglais and Glangwili hospitals.

These donations play a vital role in supporting a range of treatments ranging from helping accident victims and blood cancer patients to supporting mothers and newborns during childbirth.

Donated blood was needed during both pregnancies for the mother of two, Shelley Parry. After her own life was saved during her first pregnancy, Shelley received several more blood transfusions directly into her uterus to keep her youngest daughter alive.

Shelley explains, “Receiving blood is truly the best gift we’ve ever received. As a family, we are forever indebted to those who took the time to donate. Quite simply, without the generosity of blood donors, we would not be parents. Thanks to their selfless act, we can celebrate Christmas together as a family.

“It only takes an hour of your time to donate, if you can, please consider donating. “

Giggs Kanias, blood recipient, is also supporting the campaign. Since birth, Giggs has received more than 1,000 blood transfusions as part of his treatment for beta thalassemia major, a serious blood disease. Thanks to blood donors, Giggs can’t wait to celebrate Christmas with his family.

Giggs said, “I am so grateful for the amazing people who donate blood. When I am in the hospital I look at the bags of blood that have been transfused and I always wonder who is the person who helped me?

“I know the difference these people have made in my life and I am very grateful for each of them. Without their generosity, I wouldn’t be here today, I wouldn’t be a dad, nor would have had the chance to watch my daughter grow up. Receiving blood is truly the best gift anyone can receive. “

Alan Prosser, Director of the Welsh Blood Service, said: “For patients like Giggs, receiving blood will be the best gift they will receive at Christmas. It really is the best gift you can give.

“Blood products have a short shelf life and are needed by hospitals 365 days a year, including Christmas Day, to help patients in need, which is why we cannot stop collecting them. “

The Welsh Blood Service provides life-saving blood products to 20 Wales hospitals and four Wales Air Ambulance aircraft for emergency use.

Giggs and his daughter

Alan continues: “It is essential that the service is prepared. We need to build up blood stocks ahead of a potentially difficult winter, where seasonal illnesses and Covid-19 can exacerbate the usual winter pressures facing the NHS.

“We are reaching out to communities across Wales to ask them to donate life-saving blood and give ‘the best gift’ this holiday season.”

Do something amazing this Christmas. Give someone the best gift. Donate blood. If you are 17 or over, book to donate blood at: or call 0800 252 266 today.

Meetings are available in Pembrokeshire on December 7 and January 6 and 20 at Tenby, December 16 and January 27 at Crymych, December 20 and January 17 at Haverfordwest, January 10 at Letterston Village Hall and January 21 at Milford Haven.

Meetings are available in Carmarthenshire on December 10 at Pontyberum, December 29 and January 13 in Carmarthen, January 28 at Kidwelly Community Hall, December 23 and 24, and January 4, 12 and 25 at Parc Y Scarlets and the January 31 in Llandeilo.

Meetings are available at Ceredigion on December 14 in Newcastle Emlyn, January 14 in Aberaeron and January 18 in Lampeter.

John C. Dent