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Community & Business

30 July, 2022

Bloody brilliant

“I help the sick kids and newborn babies.” That’s what is tattooed onto Kerry Felstead’s arm, Gilgandra’s seasoned blood and plasma donor.

By Emily Middleton

Mr Felstead has hit another significant milestone in recent weeks, donating blood and plasma a total of 275 times.

“I have rare blood, O negative. And when you have a baby, if they’re crook and need blood, that’s the sort of blood they use.”

1996 is when Mr Felstead first gave blood, in Parramatta, Sydney. He fondly remembered the person who did his paperwork that very first time.

“A friend of mine from Gilgandra, her sister was the one who booked me in that very first time. How funny,” said Mr Felstead.

Initially getting his blood tested for unrelated reasons, the doctor made an offhand comment that the blood bank needed his rare O negative blood.

“I wanted to do it when I was 13, but they wouldn’t let me because I was too young. So I didn’t worry about it, kind of forgot about it, partied on. Then years later the doctor told me they needed my blood, and I haven’t looked back since.”

Donation experiences have become fairly similar to Mr Felstead, however there was one that stood out to him.

 “One time, the milkshake I received afterwards was hot. Well, it wasn’t cold, I’ll tell you that. I remember that donation,” he laughed.

Getting to 275 donations has been a huge achievement, however Mr Felstead is hanging out until donation number 500. His tattoo artist has even left a space for his next milestone.

“I didn’t think I’d even get to 200 because my iron levels were going down all the time. I got to 175 and I said I’m not going to get to 200! And they said I would – and I did, I got to 200 – then 225, 250, and now 275.”

Mr Felstead wants to remind everyone that it costs nothing to donate blood.

“The blood bank is desperate, it saves lives, and doesn’t take long. Do it for the sick kids and newborn babies.”

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