Blood donors saved my life – after I caught glandular fever
GABY Wood will be a bag of nerves when she sits her first English GCSE exam on Thursday.
But without the help of blood donors in Notts, she wouldn't be here.
The 15-year-old was left critically ill after a bout of glandular fever caused her spleen to rupture.
She twice underwent emergency surgery at the Queen's Medical Centre and received between 15 and 20 pints of blood – more than double the amount of blood normally found in the human body – as hospital staff battled to save her life.
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But after eight days in hospital, she is now bouncing back and has urged more blood donors – especially young people – to come forward.
She said: "I can remember telling my mum 'I love you and I think I'm dying'.
"The surgeon told me afterwards I was very lucky.
"If I hadn't have had blood, I would have definitely died."
She added: "It's quite scary but awesome that I've got lots of different people's blood inside me. It's amazing that it's saved my life."
Gaby, of Chatsworth Street, Sutton-in-Ashfield, was diagnosed with glandular fever by her GP on October 4.
Her condition worsened later that day and she was rushed to King's Mill Hospital, after her sister, Felicity Wood, 22, spotted warning signs online that Gaby may have a ruptured spleen due to the illness.
She was given her first blood transfusion within minutes of arriving, before being transferred to the Queen's Medical Centre where she underwent two operations – first to try and save her spleen, then to remove it.
Gaby spent four days in intensive care, and eight days in hospital in total.
She initially tried to refuse having blood transfusions, as she wanted to be a blood donor in the future.
Anyone who has received transfused blood since 1980 cannot donate.
Gaby said her brother, Oliver Wood, 24, had now pledged to give blood, while an auntie, her uncles, and cousins are also donors.
Gaby's mother, Stephanie Corps, said: "At King's Mill they tried to stabilise her by pumping blood into her.
"It went on all night until they established her spleen had ruptured.
"The transfusions continued in the ambulance as they transferred her to the QMC.
"For three days she was constantly having blood transfusions.
"It was going in and she was bleeding internally as her spleen had ruptured. Without it she would have died."
NHS Blood and Transplant is running a campaign to find 10,000 new donors in the East Midlands, and 100,000 nationally, by February 14.
It comes after the number of young people registering to become blood donors in Nottingham and Notts has dropped by more than a third in the last two years.
Ms Corps said it was important more people came forward to give blood.
She said: "Blood is so important. None of us know when we could need it to save our lives.
"Gaby had always been in rude health and all of a sudden was fighting for her life, through natural causes.
"We all walk around in a false sense of security, but one day your world can fall apart so easily."
Gaby now has to take antibiotic tablets twice a day, and has so far been unable to return to lessons at Tibshelf Community School on a full-time basis.
About her exam, Gaby said: "I'm nervous as I've missed ten mock exams since having my spleen out.
"I think my friends are all worried I'll get ill again, but everyone's been really supportive."
For more information about becoming a blood donor, visit www.blood.co.uk.