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  • ‘She wouldn’t be here without the kindness of strangers’

    2018 - 07.03

    Celebrating: Ellen McNally and daughter Saffron, who needed transfusions, cut the cake at the Wollongong Blood Bank’s first birthday party at the new Kembla Street premises. Picture: ROBERT PEETThe common cold sent Horsley toddler Saffron McNally’s body into septic shock last June and her mother Ellen can’t give enough thanks to the countless strangers who – through donating blood – kept her alive.
    Nanjing Night Net

    On Wednesday, the three-year-old was a special guest when Wollongong Blood Bank celebrated its first birthday at its state-of-the-art Kembla Street headquarters.

    Mrs McNally used the occasion to urge all Illawarra residents to give the gift of life by making regular donations.

    “It only takes about 20 minutes and you can save the life of someone just like Saffron – it could be the kid next door, it could be your own child,” she said.

    “When Saffron was ill we set up a Facebook page called Saffron’s Sepsis Survival Pledge because so many family and friends were asking us how they could help – and so we asked them to donate blood.”

    The Horsley family were all suffering the effects of a common cold last June, when little Saffron went downhill.

    When she told her parents “I can’t feel my feet” they decided to take her to hospital as a precaution. By the time she reached Wollongong Hospital, she needed to be resuscitated.

    “It took 11 hours to stabilise her enough for the helicopter to be able to fly her to Sydney Children’s Hospital at Randwick,” Mrs McNally said.

    “The virus that had caused the cold had forced her immune system into overdrive and her organs had started shutting down and she was experiencing renal failure.

    “It was hard to get the antibiotics she needed into her arms as her veins were so small so they had to drill into the bone in her leg to get the fluids in.”

    Saffron was placed into an induced coma at the Sydney hospital and was given a 25 per cent chance of survival.

    However after several weeks on life support and countless blood transfusions, she started to rally.

    “It took her some time to recover and to be able to walk again as she had to regain all her muscle strength,” Mrs McNally said. “She now also suffers from osteoporosis in her leg.

    “But she wouldn’t be here without the kindness of strangers.”

    The Australian Red Cross Blood Service used Wednesday’s celebrations to launch a new blood donation program called Red25.

    Community relations manager Richard Webb said the unique giving program aimed to rally groups and organisations in Wollongong to donate en masse.

    “Australia needs 1.3 million blood donations every year and 16 per cent of those currently come via group donations,” he said. “Through the Red25 program we are trying to get group donations to make up 25 per cent.”

    Mr Webb cited the example of Wollongong’s Pillar Administration employees, 50 of whom had donated blood as part of a blood drive this week.

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    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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