The mum of a murdered Luton teenager has thanked Bedfordshire Police, after officers and staff took part in a Know Your Type event to encourage people to sign up for blood and organ donation.
The regional NHS Blood and Transplant team visited the police station in Luton as part of an event to raise awareness, the event was organised after staff were affected by the murder of 18-year-old Azaan Kaleem, in Luton, earlier this year.
Azaan received 17 units of blood and 17 platelets as doctors battled to save his life. His family wanted to donate his organs to save lives but it was not possible as officers needed to retain them for their investigation.
Roseann Taylor, Azaan’s mother, said: “It was heart-breaking at the time, not just because my son had been murdered, but because we knew, in all likelihood, more than one life was being lost. I will forever be indebted to those whose blood gave Azaan a fighting chance, while also giving me and my family time to say goodbye to him. I’m so grateful to the police and the donor team for doing what they can to encourage people to sign up. Giving blood is so simple, yet so important; every single day people rely on donations and it’s incredibly easy to do and the donation itself only takes around 5-10 minutes.”
To replace those no longer able to donate, more than 200,000 new donors are needed every year, with the team using the Know Your Type event to encourage people to visit the Luton blood Donor Centre.
An NHS Blood and Transplant spokesman said: “We are so very grateful for Roseann’s support for donation after the tragic death of her son Azaan. Blood donors gave her family the chance to say goodbye to her son and that gave her great comfort.
“We need our loyal donors more than ever at this time of year, to make sure hospitals have the blood that seriously ill children and adults will need over Christmas and the New Year. Each donation can save up to three lives.”
The event was particularly pertinent for PC Amy Creighton, from the force’s response team, who was injured in a car accident in 2014 when only 16.
Amy was given a lifesaving blood transfusion after the car she was in was hit by a drunk driver - snapping her femur and leaving her with a ten inch scar on her leg.
She said: “I have a very important type for blood donations; rhesus negative. Only 15 per cent of the population are rhesus negative but most people can receive rhesus negative blood, which makes it very important in emergency situations.
“For me it’s even more important to encourage people to give blood, as had it not been for a blood donor I might not be here today.”
To book an appointment at the Luton Blood Donor Centre visit: www.blood.co.uk.
To support organ donation, tell your family you want to donate and join the NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk.