TAMWORTH’S new blood donor centre was officially opened by mayor Col Murray yesterday during a special ribbon-cutting ceremony.
He was joined by Australian Red Cross Blood Service representatives, members of the Tamworth community and some blood recipients and donors who were special guests of honour.
These special recipients provide a permanent reminder for those who visit the centre, on the importance of donating blood.
Each one features on a wall mural dedicated to the time their life was saved because of these blood donations.
Blood transfusion recipient, Louisa Burke and her eight-year-old daughter Isabelle shared their emotional and intertwined story.
“In March, 2004 two miracles occurred – my daughter Isabelle was born and I lived due to a blood transfusion,” Mrs Burke said.
After suffering from complications due to an extended labour and birth, Mrs Burke received six units of blood – something, even her daughter recognises was the difference between life and death.
“I’m so lucky to have my mum. She could have died having me... and I’m going to donate when I’m old enough – I love my mum,” Isabelle said.
Mrs Burke, told The Leader she kept a journal of her pregnancy and of the events surrounding the birth.
“I wrote in this journal every day and I kept it going after Issy was born,” she said.
“We go back through it together and we read parts of it. Sometimes she asks if we can read the special book – as she calls it.”
Charlie Haggart’s mum Sharon said her son – who is currently in remission after being diagnosed with leukaemia as a three-year-old, in 2010 – has changed a lot since his photo was taken for a wall feature.
“The picture was taken back in May, so six months ago. I can’t believe the difference in him and especially his hair. It’s now so thick and has changed colour,” she said.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson was also on-hand to donate blood and was more than happy to role up his sleeves.
Regular blood donor and 2TM radio veteran Mal McCall, emceed the event and used the time to urge those who have not donated to start doing so.
The new centre has been in operation for about three weeks and donor centre manager Tina Beard said there had already been a increase in the number of donors through the door.
“We have gone from about 130 per week to between 150 and 200, since we have been in the new facility,” Ms Beard said.