A paramedic whose life has been saved by at least 70 people after developing leukaemia has urged others to give blood and save more lives.
Derek Louititt received 40 blood and 30 platelet donations, and wants others to come forward to donate and become lifesavers.
Mr Louititt, 48, from East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, a paramedic and national manager for the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), highlighted how vital it is for members of the public to give blood.
He said: “Having been a paramedic for many years, I have always been fully aware of how vital blood is.
“Yet in 2013, after being diagnosed with acute myloid leukaemia, I became dependent upon blood donors myself.
“As part of my treatment, I received 40 red cell transfusions and 30 platelet transfusions. This means at least 70 people have saved my life. I am so very grateful to every single one of them.
“I only had six weeks to live without treatment.
“I would like to ask everyone over the age of 17 to give blood in the coming weeks. Please help ensure other patients like me can enjoy an amazing Christmas with their families.”
The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) has joined forces with SAS officials to highlight the importance of giving blood during the festive season to ensure supplies remain at safe levels.
The services will face certain blood group challenges in the coming weeks. For example, O Negative is the only type that can be given to anyone in an emergency.
Only 9 per cent of people in Scotland, however, have this universal blood group and donors and O Negative donors are especially being urged to make a special effort to donate this Christmas.
Dr Moira Carter, associate director of donor services SNBTS, said: “There are eight different blood groups, of which we aim to maintain a six to eight-day supply at all times.
“Donations can drop by up to 20 per cent during the holiday period as regular donors are busy with seasonal festivities, so it is especially important that people continue to give blood to support the patients of Scotland throughout December.”
SAS chief executive Pauline Howie OBE said: “Certain ambulances now carry O Negative blood, to administer in emergency situations, so we urge the people of Scotland to give blood during the coming weeks.
“All blood groups are important but O Negative can provide us with valuable time to assist people in emergency situations. If you do have this universal blood group, please contact SNBTS today.”