Donating blood to save lives

Donovan Quarmby from Lakeside has donated blood over 20 times.

To mark World Blood Drive Month and World Blood Day on June 15, Constantiaberg Bulletin partnered with Western Cape Blood Services to host a blood drive at the Blue Route Mall on Thursday June 20.

A total of 69 people donated 57 units of blood.

Donovan Quarmby, 67, from Lakeside who has donated blood more than 20 times, said he made a donation every two months.

Mr Quarmby has a condition called Hereditary Hemochromatosis which causes the body to absorb too much iron from the food one eats. Excess iron is stored in the organs, especially to the liver, heart and pancreas and too much iron can lead to life-threatening conditions such as liver disease, heart problems and diabetes.

Treatment of Hemochromatosis includes regularly removing blood from one’s body. Because so much of the body’s iron is contained in red blood cells, removing blood lowers the iron levels.

Thoeweiba Petersen, the nurse who assisted Mr Quarmby, said that Hemochromatosis was a rare condition and in her experience, a lot of people only found out that they had it after they had given blood and the nurse pointed out that they have extremely high iron levels.

She said that a lot of people with Hemochromatosis became regular donors after finding out that they had the condition.

Ms Petersen pointed out another group of three boys who were unique donors. She said they had been very excited to donate blood and had been to the clinic almost every day of that week.

Twin brothers Alex and Johann Lorimer from Tokai were joined by their friend, Thomas Raynham from Rondebosch. The boys are all pupils at Rondebosch Boys’ High School.

The Lorimer twins said that their family had a very unique history of donating blood.

“After our dad had donated blood over 97 times, he was recognised by the Queen of England and was given a prestigious award.”’

The twin brothers are of Scottish descent and said that the queen had gotten word of their family being frequent blood donors years ago when their great-aunt had donated blood over 120 times. Their dad continued that legacy, and they said that they wanted to do the same.

Thomas, who was donating for the first time that day, said: “If your dad has donated 97 times that means that he’s saved 291 lives because every time you donate you save three
lives.”

The twin brothers had come in on the Tuesday of that week to donate blood but Alex was rejected because he had low blood pressure that day. They came back the following day with Thomas, and even though Alex’s blood pressure had gone back to normal and he was
able to donate, it was too late for Thomas to donate as he was a first-time
donor and the boys had arrived at the blood clinic two minutes before the closing time.

The boys came back on the Thursday to support Thomas as he donated blood for the first time.