LIZ Williams is part of a special group of blood donors with a rare blood type who have saved the lives of thousands of unborn Aussie babies.
The Jane Brook resident has made 425 blood donations since joining the Anti-D program 44 years ago.
She is one of only 19 WA blood donors whose blood is used to make anti-D – an injection given to 17 per cent of women during pregnancy to prevent unborn babies from developing the potentially fatal haemolytic disease.
Blood Services spokeswoman Jessica Willet said this year marked the 50th anniversary of Anti-D.
“The discovery of the Anti-D injection was a medical breakthrough in 1967, and since then more than two million Australian women have received injections of Anti-D,” she said.
“Anti-D prevents the mother’s blood from harming her baby in-utero when their blood types are incompatible, and protects them from haemolytic disease of the newborn, which can cause severe anaemia and stillbirth.”
Ms Willet said demand for plasma continued to grow.
“Incredibly plasma is now used to make more than 18 different life-giving injections,” she said.
“Our growing population and new medical treatments made from plasma means demand for plasma is rising every year, so we always need more people to come forward and give plasma.
“While Anti-D donors are rare, every plasma donation is vital for helping treat conditions such haemophilia, cancer, autoimmune disorders, bleeding, as well as burns and immunisations.”
Ms Williams urged others to consider donating.
“I have a negative blood type and I had a baby with a positive blood type so I received Anti-D,” she said.
“Without these donations it can be a deadly disease and if the baby survives it can cause horrendous brain damage.”