WHEN many people try to look back on what they did on their 20th birthday, there could be an alcohol tinged haze which clouds the memory.
But when Danny Piggott, of Great Boughton, reflects on his 20th he will be able to remember it exactly.
Instead of going out for a pint of alcohol, Danny and his friends gave a pint of blood in honour of a Chester girl battling cancer.
Danny and five of his friends – Matt McCann, Daryl Ruane, Peter Boxall, Callum Bowness and Brad Stanley – all registered as new donors at a blood donation session at Upton High School in honour of Erin Cross.
Erin, three, is fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Throughout her treatment, including four rounds of intensive chemotherapy, she has needed numerous blood and platelet transfusions but may also require a stem cell transplant in future.
As a result, Erin’s parents Sarah and Anthony are backing NHS Blood and Transplant’s drive to increase the number of blood donors also on the register and they helped organise the blood donation session at the school last weekend.
Danny and his friends first heard about Erin as her father, Anthony, is a teacher at Bishops’ Blue Coat C of E High School, in Boughton, which they attended.
Last year the group, called Erin’s Army, raised more than £3000 after taking on the Tough Mudder challenge – a 12 mile obstacle course – and then ran the Chester Marathon the next day.
Danny said it wasn’t difficult to sacrifice his birthday celebrations for a good cause. He said: “It was my birthday last Thursday but instead of going out on the Friday we didn’t as we were giving blood. Obviously when we do get round to celebrating it won’t quite be the same but I wanted to sign up.
“Sarah [Erin’s mum] helped organise the session with the NHS so it seemed like a good time to sign up. For most of us it was our first time giving blood and we all will in the future.”
Erin’s family are currently helping the NHS Blood and Transplant with its latest campaign to increase the stocks of O-blood, a rare blood group which only seven per cent of the UK population belong to.
It is a very special blood group because O-blood can be given to everyone, so it is often used in emergencies as stocks of this blood need to be kept very high.
For details on becoming a blood donor and booking an appointment visit www.blood.co.uk/index.aspx
See full story in the Chester Leader