Peter Harrison honoured for his 500 pints
Almost every month, carer Peter Harrison rolls up his sleeves to help save lives.
He has clocked up more than 500 blood and platelet donations over the past 35 years.
The 53-year-old's achievement has been recognised with a diamond award from NHS Blood and Transplant, which collects the donations.
Mr Harrison, from Croft, began as a blood donor when he was 18 and worked for the national Electricity Board.
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He said: "A lot of people were recruited to give blood and I decided to go along too and since then have just carried on.
"Not long after I began giving blood I was asked if I would donate platelets. Apparently men are more likely to be suitable platelet donors because they have a higher blood volume than women."
The Leicester Donor Centre, in Vaughan Way, in the city centre, is one of only a handful in the country where platelets can be collected. It is done by taking blood from the donor, separating the platelets in a special machine and then returning to blood to the donor.
The platelets – tiny cells in the blood which help blood to clot – have a shelf life of just seven days.
Platelet transfusions are often needed for very ill patients whose bone marrow is not working properly, including cancer or leukaemia sufferers having chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments can destroy healthy as well as diseased cells in the blood and lead to a low platelet count.
This puts patients at risk of severe bleeding problems and they can need a number of transfusions over the course of their recovery period.
Mr Harrison, who now works as a carer for the city's Home Instead Senior Care, said: "Donating platelets is just part of my routine. It is nice to know I have been able to improve the lives of one or two people along the way."
Holly Mason, lead donor relations manager for Leicestershire at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "Every donation of platelets made by Mr Harrison will have provided two or more adults doses and up to 12 doses for children.
"A large number of people still aren't aware of the need for platelet donors so we are keen to encourage as many as possible to get involved."
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