'A life and death service': Limerick blood donors are honoured for saving lives

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Tony Tuohy, Dromkeen received an award for donating 100 units of blood. He is pictured with his wife, Deirdre  Picture: Dave Gaynor

Tony Tuohy, Dromkeen received an award for donating 100 units of blood. He is pictured with his wife, Deirdre Picture: Dave Gaynor

ALMOST 70 blood donors from across Limerick have been presented with awards having reached the milestone of donating either 100 or 50 units of blood.

The awards were presented by the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) at a ceremony at the Greenhills Hotel.

More than 170 donors from across the region were honoured at the event which takes place every second year.

Among the recipients were farmer brothers Seamus and Thomas Laffan from Boher who both donated their 50th unit on the same day last June while Karen Coady from Ferndale, Ennis Road was the only woman to have donated 100 units.

“My mum was a donor and it was just something I wanted to do. I started in the old Crescent Hall,” Karen told the Limerick Leader.

”I’m O Negative so I’m a universal donor so mostly my blood goes to neonatal and it just feels good,” she added.

Another award recipient – Pat Sweeney from Broadford – donated the first of his 104 units of blood when he was aged 27.

“I just decided if I could give it why not give it and the Blood Transfusion Board are a great group of people and they are looking for blood to save other people’s lives so you have to do it really,” said Pat whose sons are also blood donors.

Liam O’Donnell from  Shanagolden, who has donated 53 units, said he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps.

“My dad actually got me into it growing up. He used to always tell me about it and when I turned 18 years of age I just said why not and we’ll see how it goes. It’s only a small that you can do but it does a great thing for such a small effort,” he said.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Mayor of the city and County of Limerick, Cllr Stephen Keary, praised all of the blood donors, who between them have donated more than 9,000 units.

“Your acts of selflessness help to save the lives of others. You are doing something small that has a massive impact on other people so thank you most sincerly,” he said.

Professor Anthony Staines, chairperson of IBTS, who presented the awards, said blood donors play a vital role in the health service.

“What you are doing is something very special and maybe it’s something that you don’t think about too often because for a lot of you – because you are very frequent donors – its a routine part of your life, you two up every few months – three times a year twice a year sometimes in lovely sunshine, sometimes in pelting rain or snow or storms but you turn up and for us and for many of the people to whom we provide a service, this is life and death,” said Prof Staines who revealed he received 170 units of blood following surgery 18 years ago.