Inverness donor Paul Marrs became a blood donor when he was a teenager. 30 years (and 30 donations) later, he's still saving lives.
'I was 16, and I’d just started working with the railways when the Falklands war began. There was a poster in the staff room that said, "Save our soldiers. Give blood." Coming from a family with a strong forces background meant the message struck a powerful cord with me. The rest is history. As soon as I was old enough, I started giving blood and I've been a donor ever since.
Every patient is somebody’s family, somebody’s friend.
'Even though those posters were the reason I started giving blood, I've realised over the years how vital it is to make sure blood is available for every patient that needs it, regardless of how they ended up in hospital. Every patient is somebody's family, somebody's friend. It’s a truly amazing feeling, knowing that by giving just a little bit of time out your day, you can save lives.
'Over the years I’ve had friends who have needed transfusions. One friend depended on eight units, another needed four. Just the other week, my daughter-in-law very nearly needed a transfusion as she haemorrhaged after childbirth. The reality is, you just never know when you, your family or friends could need the help of a stranger. It's so important we all play our part.
My wife, son and daughter all give blood as well, so it’s a bit of a family affair.
'I've given more than 30 donations of my O positive blood so far and I've really got to know the local team at Inverness donor centre over the years. It's such an easy, relaxed atmosphere and the banter with the staff is good too. It's just so easy. All you have to do is you lift the phone and book your appointment. My wife, son and daughter all give blood as well, so it's a bit of a family affair.
'I'd urge anyone thinking of giving blood for the first time or who has just got out of the habit to just go and do it. It really could mean the difference between life and death. Giving blood can be both life saving and life changing. It's such a rewarding process to be part of. I'm really proud to be able to say that I’m a blood donor.'