Today in Trafalgar Square, Heather Mills McCartney launched World Blood Donor Day by unveiling a "celebration gallery" of 50 photographs of people who's lives were saved by blood donations. Heather told the crowd assembled in the square:
"It is because of the generosity of donors that I am here today to celebrate World Blood Donor Day. The galleries are a fitting tribute to blood donors and the lives they have improved and saved. I'd like to say thank you to each and every one of them.
"Don't wait until something happens to you, or someone you love, before you actually give blood. If your child became ill and there was a shortage of blood and you lost your child, you would never forgive yourself. It's one thing in your life that you could do that could make a huge difference.
"Twelve years ago, I lost my leg in a serious accident in which I got a crushed pelvis, a punctured lung and lost part of my leg. A helicopter rushed me to hospital and my sister was told four times to go in and say good-bye to me. I needed many, many blood transfusions, pints and pints, which is why I am here involved in this today. I just want to say thank you for saving my life, and to the thousands of others you have no idea about it. It is really the extraordinary people that give blood that this is about. You can change a life or save a life by giving blood. It is a huge achievement, we want to thank all of you and get more people to do it. Don't wait until somebody you know gets into a life saving situation and needs blood. It takes three weeks to check and screen it. There is a large shortage, it is not critical but it is big, so please donate."
Heather says she is "peeved" that she is not able to be a blood donor herself because of her accident and because she once suffered a tropical disease. She assured the public the blood donation is a simple and save procedure. Further, she emphasized that there is no danger of contracting HIV:
"It was unbelievable that people could think that could ever happen. You are never ever going to get it (HIV) in Britain with the needles and the system that we use. It's very simple and totally risk-free. You can go back to work (afterwards) and you have a cup of tea and a biscuit."
Along with the gallery of portraits in Trafalgar Square in central London, other "celebration galleries" were opened in Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Norwich, Nottingham and Southampton.
(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)
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