Tuesday, 19 December 2017


Sunday the 17th of December was the day I dusted off the cobwebs, inflated the tyres and took my pushbike out for a ride in the country. I used to cycle regularly, but for over 2 years I have not been able to. For several years I have been taking a drug every two-months to help my body deal with a disease that I have been living with for some time. The down-side to this drug is that while it is great at knocking back the main disease, it can, in a small number of cases, weaken your body’s ability to fight infections.

I was one of the small cohort of people that this happened to. Slowly I found that I developed a cough that would not go. Gradually it became worse. I caught a cold and it developed into pneumonia. Courses of antibiotics were prescribed, with no or limited effect. There followed several admissions to hospital. My back and chest ached from the pain of constant coughing.

My life changed dramatically. I could not go out at night, and had to stay out of draughts. I became run down and could no longer cycle or walk. Work and even small amounts of exercise became a struggle.

Things changed when I met my local hospital’s immunology team. I now go in one day a month to be topped up with blood products. My immune system receives a boost because of the donated blood of others. I am so grateful to the New Zealand Blood Service and to those New Zealanders who give up their time and donate their blood. I only wish that I could do the same.

This Christmas be a real Secret Santa, not just for one month, but throughout the year. If you are healthy, consider donating blood. It makes a real difference to so many people. Blood donors, who I may never meet, have given me the opportunity to ride my bike and feel the sun on my back and the wind on my face. Thanks so much.

As the NZ Blood Service site says: “SAVING LIVES, IT’S IN OUR BLOOD”. Make a booking to donate: 0800 GIVE BLOOD

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