GOSH fundraiser tackles challenge to donate blood 20 times in 2020

17 Feb 2021, 9:07 a.m.

John donating blood in Poole

John signed up to be a blood donor 47 years ago and has not looked back since.

In 2020, he set himself a challenge to donate 20 times across the country and to raise £5,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

Becoming a blood donor

John, aged 71, registered to be on the blood donor list in 1973.

He has since donated over 1,300 times, ranging from whole blood to platelets. This makes him one of the most active donors in England.

Platelets 20in20

Whilst 2020 was a challenging and uncertain year for us all, John continued to find a way to donate his very much needed blood.

“The original challenge was to donate platelets at 20 of the 23 NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) centres in England in 2020,” John says.

His challenge started in Edgware and the twentieth centre will be in Birmingham.

“Given that platelet donations can only be made at a minimum of every two weeks in good health, twenty donations is a tough challenge.”

John hoped his efforts would encourage people to donate blood but also to raise vital funds for GOSH.

“I am doing the challenge for two reasons. One is to raise awareness and the need for blood donors, particularly first-time blood donors. I am also raising money for the hospital. As far as giving blood, platelets are used for clotting. I have probably helped to save thousands of lives.”

John on a cycle wearing GOSH t-shirt

As expected, the COVID-19 pandemic did have its effects on John’s challenge, but he only has one blood donation to go.

“As I was 70, and because of the lockdown, I wasn’t allowed to give. In the original lockdown, it was deemed not allowed.

“But now, because blood donations are so essential, and they are trying to get people to donate blood, and encourage it, they [the NHS] have let me go on with it.

“At times the challenge has been quite stressful. On two occasions I have travelled to a centre and then not been able to donate.”

Donating to GOSH

Along with donating blood and raising awareness of becoming a blood donor, John is over halfway to his £5,000 fundraising target for GOSH.

“As I was going around the country donating platelets, I thought perhaps why not raise money for a charity?

“I believe children who are born unwell or become unwell deserve all the support that they can get. What better place to give this support but GOSH?”

John is hoping to complete the challenge this month, meaning he will have donated 20 times in 14 months despite losing three months due to the lockdown.

“I would definitely recommend it to anybody. It is a very satisfying thing to do and helps to save lives.”

Fundraise for GOSH

Like John, if you’ve been inspired to fundraise for GOSH, there’s lots of ways you can get involved.

Start fundraising and make a difference from the comfort of your own home whether it's on your own, with the people you're living with or virtually with friends and family.

The hospital needs the support of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity (GOSH Charity) now more than ever, so it can continue to deliver the best, life-saving care for seriously ill children.

Whatever shape your fundraising takes, we think you're amazing and we want to say a huge heartfelt thank you for the support you're giving GOSH, now and always.