Mum makes bid to help save lives

Levi Ormerod with his mum Chantal. (s)
Levi Ormerod with his mum Chantal. (s)
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A Pendle mum is calling for 200,000 blood donors to join the campaign which saved her son’s life.

Chantal Ormerod, from Trawden, is supporting the NHS’ work to make up a life-saving mix of blood groups.

Levi Ormerod undergoing a blood transfusion. (s)

Levi Ormerod undergoing a blood transfusion. (s)

Her son, 24-year-old Levi, has spent the last two years undergoing blood transfusions after developing a rare illness.

“If he hadn’t had them, he wouldn’t be alive today,” she said, “so I’d encourage more people to join the fight, as it doesn’t take long and each platelet donation can save the lives of three adults or 12 babies or children.”

The campaign – which began last month during National Blood Week – is particularly looking for young people and 40,000 new black donors to help save the lives of patients with the country’s fastest-growing genetic condition, sickle cell disease. Most common in black people, it causes extreme pain, life-threatening infections and other complications, such as stroke.

For Levi, a bout of chicken pox at age 21 turned deadly when his liver failed three weeks later.

Chantal Ormerod is calling for more blood donors to join the fight which saved son Levi's life. (s)

Chantal Ormerod is calling for more blood donors to join the fight which saved son Levi's life. (s)

He spent a month on a liver unit fighting an infection but his recovery took another sinister turn when he developed aplastic anaemia. The illness is an attack by the immune system on the sufferer’s bone marrow and stems cells. For 22 months, he received three units of blood every week.

“He’s endured many infections and hasn’t been able to go out and mingle with people because he’s always fatigued,” Chantal said. “He’s had to go to hospital everyday whenever he’s had an infection. It’s put his life on hold.”

Hope for Levi came in May last year when he underwent a bone marrow transplant. But it wasn’t long before the transplant began to fail and a second was needed in March.

“The transplanted bone marrow graft is now working,” Chantal added, “so he’s beginning to produce his own stem cells and his reliance on transfusions is decreasing. He last needed one two weeks ago.

“His aim now is to get back into work, get better and do more. But it’s those transfusions that have brought him to this point.”

For more information or to join the campaign, please visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.