Plea for blood donations in Isla’s memory

Baby Isla Elizabeth Leaf benefitted from a series of blood transfusions in her short life, helping her to fight a rare heart condition.  Now her mother, Louise Threlfall, has made an impassioned plea for people to join the blood donor register.
Baby Isla Elizabeth Leaf benefitted from a series of blood transfusions in her short life, helping her to fight a rare heart condition. Now her mother, Louise Threlfall, has made an impassioned plea for people to join the blood donor register.
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A mother whose baby girl was given a “fighting chance” thanks to blood transfusions has urged people to consider donating blood.

Louise Threlfall’s impassioned plea comes after NHS Blood and Transplant revealed blood donations have dropped by 40 per cent over the last decade.

The mother-of-two, 31, lost her baby girl, Isla Elizabeth Leaf, aged just six weeks.

But Louise says Isla wouldn’t have even lived that long were it not for a series of blood transfusions which allowed her tiny body to fight a rare heart disease, a cardiac arrest and two bleeds on her brain.

Now Louise, from South Shore, is hosting a special blood donation event in her memory, on June 17, and is urging others to visit a blood bank during National Blood Week, from June 8-14.

She said: “Blood isn’t something you can buy, it has to be given, so we were reliant on the good will of the public.

“Isla couldn’t have even tried to give any sort of fight without it, transfusions give you that extra boost.

“They gave her the chance to try to put a fight in.”

Tragically, Isla lost her life on January 22 this year.

Her memory lives on though, as parents Louise and Darran Leaf have organised for 24 people to give blood next week. One pint of blood donated can help three people, meaning their donation drive will benefit 72 others.

Since 2004-05, 40 per cent less people have given blood, as 120,000 fewer people joined the blood donor register in 2014-15.

Now 204,000 new volunteers are needed to donate, in order that the nation’s blood stocks remain at a safe level.

NHS bosses believe misconceptions stop younger people from donating.

And strains on people’s time have also been cited by medics as preventing people from donating.

Ms Threlfall said donating is vitally important though.

She added: “A new generation of blood donors are needed.

“It’s not asking for money, it’s just giving up time and getting over a few fears.

“Once the needle’s gone in there’s no pain, it’s just a relaxing hour. A blood transfusion can really give someone a boost. If there’s anything you do in your life, please give blood.”

Giving blood takes around one hour.

For more information, to find out if you can donate, book appointments and to register, call 0300 123 23 23, or visit www.blood.co.uk