A PENKETH mum is urging more male residents in Warrington to sign up to donate blood after her son was given 112 blood transfusions during cancer treatment.

Carolyn Wright’s son Jenson was diagnosed with lymphoma and leukaemia in November 2013 when he was just four years old.

Since then he has had numerous blood treatments and Carolyn spoke out as a campaign was launched to get more men in the town to donate blood.

The fast-growing form of cancer only develops in five children under the age of five each year.

Carolyn and her husband Stephen noticed a hard lump on the then four-year-old’s chin.

Carolyn said: “My son would not be alive if it wasn’t for people donating blood.

“It doesn’t just sit unused, you are saving lives.

“Whether it is just a pint that is used during an operation or much more throughout cancer treatment, it all helps.

“All of the blood products had to be matched to his type and cleaned to make sure it was safe.

“Jenson would not have survived without the blood donated by others.”

Warrington Guardian:

Jenson Wright

Jenson, now aged 10, was finally given the all-clear by doctors in February 2019 and the youngster will start high school in September after facing cancer throughout all of his primary school years.

Several years of treatment for Jenson included a cutting-edge stem cell transplant using a donated umbilical cord from a baby in Texas, back in 2016.

Jenson’s blood type has changed since his stem cell treatment and he is now an A-positive.

There is a vital need for more men in Warrington to start donating blood because of a serious imbalance in the gender of new donors.

During 2019, only 43 per cent of the new donors in Warrington were men.

Until the end of November, 179 women from Warrington started donating but only 134 men.

The imbalance reflects a national trend.

This is a concern because men have higher iron levels, and only men’s blood can be used for some transfusions and products. Without more men starting to give blood, blood stocks will come under increasing pressure in future years.

Throughout January, NHS Blood and Transplant is running a campaign about ordinary men becoming extraordinary by donating blood, and Warrington is one of the target areas for new male donors.

NHSBT is aiming for 48 per cent of all new donors in Warrington to be male during 2020.

Men are valuable donors for two reasons.

Firstly, they have higher iron levels. Each time they try and donate, they’re less likely to be deferred for low haemoglobin levels. That helps maintain a strong donorbase, which is particularly crucial for people who need hundreds or even thousands of transfusions over their lifetime.

Secondly, women can produce antibodies during pregnancy, even during short pregnancies they don’t even know about. Antibodies are part of the body’s defence system and they make transfusions more difficult.

This means men’s blood is only used for some specialist transfusions and blood products.

Only men’s blood is used for complete blood transfusions in newborn babies, and also for plasma, which is used for people who’ve had massive blood loss. NHSBT also gets 93 per cent of its platelets from male donors – they are mostly given to cancer patients to cut internal bleeding.

Mike Stredder, the head of donor recruitment for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “All our donors are amazing. But we need more men to start donating blood in Warrington during the New Year.

“Men’s blood can be used in extraordinary, lifesaving ways, but we don’t have enough new male donors coming forward. This is not about recruiting as many donors as possible – it’s about getting the right gender mix.

“If you can’t find an appointment right away don’t worry – your blood will do extraordinary things if you donate in a few weeks instead.”

Become a blood donor at www.blood.co.uk.