Blood donors true heroes of our society
Denis Broderick from Maghera is a remarkable man. On this day next week he will give his 100th blood donation. It is something he has done for more than 50 years, even when working abroad.
He recalls his father being a donor and has passed on this spirit of giving to his own children. That in essence is what blood donation is all about, particularly in the UK where the only reward is knowing that you have helped someone in need.
Our stories today on those who have benefited from blood donations shows the extensive range of uses to which they are put.
One is a woman who required large transfusions after going into labour early; another is a man who ruptured his oesophagus simply by coughing and then began to bleed internally, and finally there is the little nine-year-old boy who has a very rare condition that requires him to have blood transfusions every three weeks. Without them he would die.
Blood received from donors is used to treat people who have undergone massive trauma such as a car crash, or who have undergone surgery, or are receiving treatment for cancer.
To every one of them, it is a gift of life, and that is the wonderful gift that those thousands of donors hand over every time they queue up to give their pint of blood.
The scale of their generosity is immense as the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service receives 64,000 donations every year at its 1,000 donor sessions.
Organ donation receives a higher profile. In many ways this is understandable as people give a part of their own body in the case of living donations, or families donate the organs of loved ones who have passed away.
But blood donation is even more vital and used infinitely more often. And it is a gift that requires just a little time, somewhere between 30-45 minutes for the whole process.
Just think, in that time the pint of blood that you give could be used to save the lives of three people. What a tremendous gift that is to be able to give. There are no lasting effects and you can donate several times a year.
People are already very generous - during the Troubles donors used to queue outside hospitals after some particularly heinous crime involving multiple casualties. But on this day next week, Blood Donor Day, why not resolve to become a donor? There can never be too much donated blood.