Armadale and Kelmscott residents among 19 WA Anti-D heroes


Ivan Miles is among a small number of Australians with a rare blood type. Picture: Will Russell www.communitypix.com.au d475465
Ivan Miles is among a small number of Australians with a rare blood type. Picture: Will Russell www.communitypix.com.au d475465

THERE are only 19 people in WA who can help save the lives of hundreds of unborn babies.

And two of them live right here in Armadale and Kelmscott.

Ivan Miles and Jean Gill are among a small but special group of WA donors with a rare blood type who can provide Anti-D plasma to unborn babies at risk of being attacked by the mother’s antibodies.

Mr Miles, who has donated more than 120 times, said he didn’t see himself as being anymore special than other donors.

“If I have a blood product that can help people then it is only proper to donate it,” he said.

“It is a privilege in itself to be able to help people who need it.

“In reality, it is not an imposition and if it helps to save lives or help patients in other ways then I am only too happy to assist.”

Ms Gill agreed, and said it was a good feeling to think of the scores of people she had helped with her 211 donations after being on the receiving end herself.

““If somebody hadn’t provided me with an injection after my first child was born, my second one probably wouldn’t survive,” she said.

“I’m thankful for that person back in 1971 and because of that anti-D injection my child born in 1974 was fine.

“When they told me I was a candidate, I thought, ‘yes I’m going to do this, because somebody helped me’.”

Blood Service spokesperson Jessica Willet said this year marked the 50th anniversary of the Anti-D program.

She said there was a low number of appointments booked over Melbourne Cup week and more donors were needed to help keep their blood and plasma stocks at a healthy level.

Visit www.donateblood.com.au or call 13 14 95 to make an appointment.

How does Anti-D Work?

When a mother with Rh (D) negative blood becomes pregnant with a baby that has Rh (D) positive blood, there’s a risk her immune system will create antibodies that attack the unborn baby’s red blood cells.

This can cause deadly Haemolytic Disease of the Newborn (HDN), which can lead to serious complications for the baby during pregnancy, and even death. Only treatments made from anti-D plasma can prevent HDN.

Source: Australian Red Cross Blood Service

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