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Dartford multiple donor aims to keep the blood flowing

PUBLISHED: 12:25 16 July 2013 | UPDATED: 13:52 16 July 2013

Frances Mason and her award

Frances Mason and her award

Archant

The sight of the smallest drop of blood is enough to make some people faint on the spot.

Thankfully, at the opposite end of the scale is Dartford mother-of-two Frances Mason who has donated the red stuff 75 times since the age of 18.

Blood donation factfile

Healthy people between 17 and 60 can register as a blood donor and give until the age of 70.

Donors are asked to give blood two or three times a year. Only six per cent of the population donates.

Each time you will donate about 470ml of blood – it is quickly replaced by your body.

Once you have donated you should rest for a short time before having something to eat and drink. The whole process should not take more than an hour.

She has recently been honoured by NHS Blood and Transplant for her commitment to the life-saving procedure and says her desire to donate is driven by wanting to “make the world a better place”.

The 56-year-old said: “I’ve done it pretty consistently over the past almost 40 years. The first time I did it, aged 18, I felt so proud and I have ever since.

“I wanted to help make the world a better place and I thought this was an easy way to do that. The good thing is you can donate blood anywhere in the country, wherever you are.”

Multiple donors from Kent, London, Sussex and Surrey were recognised for their achievements at a Croydon ceremony last month and award winners at the event were told first-hand how donating blood can save someone’s life.

Blood donation bagsBlood donation bags

Guest of honour Jeremy Bover, of Gravesend, told how his daughter Georgina benefited from vital blood transfusions as part of a treatment for her rare kidney cancer.

Just three per cent of the population who give blood do it 75 times or more, while one per cent do it over 100 times.

Frances, of Shepherds Lane, said: “I’ve never really thought about people’s lives I might have saved, it’s just something I’ve always wanted to do.

“But there was one time when I got a call saying they needed my type of blood, A-, urgently in an Edgware hospital.

“That’s when it really hits home the good that can come of it.”

Donor relations manager John Canning said: “We are proud to reward these incredible people, these silent heroes, who have rolled up their sleeves so many times over the years to help save lives. Becoming a regular blood donor takes commitment and shows compassion.

“We need 200,000 new registrations every year to replace those donors who can no longer donate so we hope that the stories of these dedicated doors will inspire new donors to come forward and sign up.”

Male donors can donate four times a year with minimum 12-week intervals while female donors can give blood on average 16 weeks or more apart to avoid the risk of iron deficiency.

Blood donating runs in Frances’ family though she is out in front – 58-year-old husband Philip has done it 70 times and twin 21-year-old daughters Kay and Sarah have given blood 10 times. Her late mother-in-law donated about 55 times.

Frances said: “This will help give me the motivation to get to 100. When the girls were growing up I sometimes had to take them when I was donating, so they kind of grew up with it.”

If you are interested in giving blood, call the donor hotline on 0300 123 23 23 or see www.blood.co.uk.

Do you know a local hero who deserves to be featured? Contact the newsroom on 0208 477 3858, email robin.cottle@archant.co.uk or tweet @northkentnews.

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