Falkirk brothers Andrew and Steven Millar credit sibling rivalry for making them the dedicated blood donors they are today.
Andrew and younger brother Steven have made over 250 blood donations between them. As each donation can be split into three separate parts, this means they have saved or improved the lives of up to 750 people in Scotland. Rivalry aside, they were delighted to be honoured jointly at a recent Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service award ceremony, and even collected their awards for making 125 donations together.
Andrew, 58, started giving blood at just 17 years old after a family friend needed a number of transfusions. He hasn't looked back since, and this July gave his 131st donation.
It’s not a hard thing to do, but it’s incredibly rewarding.
Andrew said, 'I've been really lucky to have had good health over the years. When I see the letter come through the post I plan my diary around the Falkirk session. It's not a hard thing to do, but it’s incredibly rewarding.
'I never really thought about the impact giving blood had until we attended the 125 awards ceremony where we heard a patient talk about how blood had saved his life. It certainly brought a tear to the eye. It can be nerve-wracking going along for the first time but once you see it's no big deal, not only will you be back, you'll bring friends and family with you.'
That is exactly what Andrew did when younger brother Steven turned 17. Steven, 54, is now hot on Andrew's heels with 127 blood donations to his name. Steven has O- blood, which is known as the 'universal' blood type, and means his blood can be given to anyone and used in emergencies.
If you’ve never given blood before, I’d say just relax.
Steven said, 'My wife Fiona is a nurse, so I am all too aware of the need for blood, and that it could be me or my family needing it at any time. Fiona and I make a day of it. We book appointments at Glasgow Donor Centre then see if there is a show on in the city after. It's a little thing to do but it makes such a difference.
'If you've never given blood before, I'd say just relax. It's surprising how laid back the whole environment is, and the staff make you feel so at ease. It was a pleasure to go to the awards with my big brother and I’m continuing the tradition of encouraging family - two of my kids have already given blood.'
- If, like Andrew and Steven, you want to become a lifesaver, sign up as a blood donor by calling 0345 90 90 999. You can also sign up online.