Plasma donors needed to make medicines and save lives

Dion Martin donates plasma every fortnight at the Palmerston North donor centre.
WARWICK SMITH/STUFF

Dion Martin donates plasma every fortnight at the Palmerston North donor centre.

Every fortnight, Dion Martin takes time out of his day to help save someone's life.

A regular blood and plasma donor for more than 30 years, Martin regularly takes time out to sit in Palmerston North's donor centre, a thin IV line connected to the vein in his arm from a box-like machine nearby.

It's a machine that takes his blood, removes the plasma and returns his blood back to his body within an hour.

Plasma is the fluid that carries red blood cells around the body.

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New Zealand Blood Service spokeswoman Diane Renshaw said plasma could make up to 13 different medicines to help people with cancers, burns, and haemophilia.

Although many people donated blood, in the Palmerston North area 200 new plasma donors were needed to help "spread the load" for the regular donors, Renshaw said.

The blood service relied on the generosity of people to help "meet the needs of New Zealanders".

Martin said as a father of six, he was not always able to donate money to charities and cancer research.

But, donating plasma was something he could do and it was his way of giving back.

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"It's good for the community. I know that for people with cancer, it's really worthwhile."

Palmerston North man Darryl Cleland recently became a regular donor.

Cleland has one of New Zealand's rarest blood types, B negative.

He said he had been "too busy" in the past to donate, but really it was something fit, healthy people should be doing to help others.

Alan Brooker made his 107th donation on Monday.

The Palmerston North man said he tried to donate about every four weeks.

Booker's father was unable to donate blood after caching malaria while serving in the medical corps in World War II.

So, he had encouraged Brooker to donate and "give back to society".

 - Stuff

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