A SELF employed plasterer is helping to save the lives of thousands of people across the world thanks to his rare blood type.
Since he was 18 Marc Hammond has been giving blood after being encouraged by his workmates, but recently starting using his rare blood type, AB Negative, to help even more people by donating his plasma.
“I see it as investing in my good fortune,” said the 51-year-old, of Station Street, Castle Gresley, “If I am good, good things will happen to me.”
To donate his plasma, the largest single component of blood, Mr Hammond even travels to a Birmingham donor centre for his lifesaving proteins to be extracted by a needle, and sent off to those who need it such as burns victims, leukaemia patients and war victims.
He said: “I first started giving blood when I was 18 but because I have a rare blood type - AB Negative - the nurses asked me if I would like to donate platelets at a Leicester blood donor centre.
“I did that for a while until the centre closed down and I went back to Burton.”
He was later asked if he wanted to give plasma and was invited to go to Birmingham.
“I was getting on for 50,” he said, “and there will be a time when I can’t give blood anymore, maybe due to health problems so I thought I should help.”
Mr Hammond likened the look of plasma to Lucozade, saying there is no pain when it is extracted and he can donate in his own time.
He donates plasma every month and blood every four months, and said: “When you donate plasma it counts as two donations, so along with blood and platelets I have donated about 200 times.”
Known as the ‘gift of life’ patients all over the world rely on plasma protein therapies to treat rare, chronic diseases.
Plasma helps those with blood clotting problems, improperly functioning immune systems - exposing people to frequent infections, genetic emphysema, and it also treats burns patients, rabies, tetanus, dialysis patients and organ transplant recipients.
Mr Hammond said: “When I say I donate plasma, people are always asking what it is. Not many people know you can donate.
“I would urge people to give blood, and ask if they can give plasma by going to their local donor centre.”