Blood Donor

Reporter: Andrea Burns

Peter Ray may have saved the lives of up to two thousand one hundred babies. But this humble Vietnam Vet doesn't think he's remarkable. "I'm one of the lucky ones who can help other people"

For the past thirty years, Peter has spent up to an hour EVERY fortnight giving plasma containing rare, lifesaving anti bodies. "It;s like if you've got the flu or something like that, your body develops an anti body to fight cos, I've got o-negative blood, o positive is a foreign object, so my blood develops anti bodies to get rid of the o positive blood and that anti body's called anti d"

A car accident in his twenties, cost Peter an arm - but a medical mix up made his blood a precious commodity. "At the end of the operation I realised they were giving me o negative blood instead of o negative blood I'm not sure why , it could have been cos they didn't budget for enough blood in the operation or just made a mistake cos it was Christmas new year celebrations, but it's an ill wind that blows no good so that was quite a good wind for the blood bank"

Good news too, for mums to be, like Leonie Talbot Leonie and Peter live just five hundred metres apart, but they have much more than a suburb in common. Leonie has donors like Peter to thank for the healthy arrival of daughter Camille five years ago. "He really is a champion, without people like him I would have all sorts of problems"

Leonie has type O-negative blood, she found out during her pregnancy with Camille, that her baby's blood type is O-positive - left unchecked, Leonie's blood would have attacked Camille's system, possibly causing anaemia, brain damage or death. Simple injections of anti d prevented that heart ache.

"It's given to these women at 28 weeks, 34 weeks and after delivery, routinely" Sarah Hudson from the Red Cross says seventeen per cent of pregnant women are affected. "When they actually developed the anti d immuglobulin and realised if they gave it, they could prevent this from happenning, it was pretty fantastic" Leonie you're 22 weeks pregnant with your second baby, how much does this play on your mind when you go into a second pregnancy? It does a lot being able to have this injection means both myself and my baby are going to be healthy"

Peter's given plasma 700 times - he's the state's highest milestone donor. But it's not for gifts or accolades he does this. It's because he can. "Do you feel like a lifesaver? no I just feel like a normal person" Leonie says "he really is a champion without people like him, I would have all sorts of problems, I could have a very sick little baby on my hands and possibly not even attempt a second pregnancy - so it's quite a gift?, it truly is yep"

People can enquire about donating Plasma by calling 13 14 95 to make an appointment or register at http://www.donateblood.com.au/