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14th Jun 2023

“Without these blood transfusions, I simply would not have survived”

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In 2012, Irish mum Emma Gilbey lost 80% of her blood during childbirth. Today, she thanks blood donors for saving her life.

Today, June 14th, is World Blood Donor Day, and a timely reminder of just how vital it is to give blood.

It’s estimated that one in four people will need a blood transfusion at some point in their lives, and yet only 3% of the population that are eligible to give blood do so.

The Irish Irish Blood Transfusion Service requires in excess of 3,000 donations each week to maintain the national supply of blood to hospitals, and this blood is given to newborn babies, to cancer patients, to accident victims, to patients undergoing obstetrics emergencies, heart operations and hip operations.

One woman who is only too familiar with the importance of giving blood is Irish mum Emma Gilbey who required a life-saving blood transfusion during the birth of her son Charlie in 2012.

“After a relatively straight forward pregnancy, I unfortunately suffered acute complications during the delivery which included a massive postpartum haemorrhage through which I lost just under 4 litres (approx 80%) of my blood,” Emma tells Her.

“Immediately after Charlie’s birth – without even seeing him or holding him – I was taken to theatre for four hours of emergency surgery to treat the injuries I sustained. This was quite a traumatic experience as I was conscious for this surgery. As the medical team battled to stem the bleeding I was aware of them talking about the loss of blood and the urgent need for more blood. I recall vividly them saying that blood was being couriered from Dublin and realising how serious this situation was and just hoping it got to me in time. Thankfully they did and I received an initial life saving blood transfusion and several others through the course of my recovery.”

Today, Charlie is a happy and healthy 11-year-old boy – and a big brother to Victoria-Rose – and Emma and her family are forever grateful to the blood donors who saved her life. Her husband Robert is now a regular blood donor.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to every single blood donor in the country,” she says. “There is no doubt that without these blood transfusions, I simply would not have survived. I have been privileged to speak at several awards dinners and events for blood donors and I am always so humbled when I meet donors for their incredible dedication and selflessness in donating blood on a regular basis. They are heroes in the truest sense of the word. I think of my donors regularly and hope they understand the value of their donations, how they can change lives and save lives.”

Charlie himself wanted to add a message to encourage people to become regular blood donors.

He said: “I would like to encourage blood donors because without them I may not have my Mom here today and I would like to thank all the people who donated blood to her. I love her so much, she is the best Mom in the world!”

Give blood today.

Simply put, giving blood saves lives. Check your eligibility today and find your nearest clinic by heading to

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