Praise for hero Paschal after making his 600th donation of blood platelets
A LIFETIME member of a Dublin GAA club has made his 600th donation to the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS).
Liffey Gaels member Paschal O'Connor (55) reached the milestone at the national blood centre in James's Street.
Paschal has been giving platelets for more than 40 years while also playing for and representing the Inchicore club.
He told the Herald that he first began donating to the organisation over a free pint of Guinness.
"It started in 1975 when I was on a stag do. We were in Rathmines and a place was offering a free pint of Guinness for a blood donation so I gave it a go," he said.
"Eventually they did away with the free pint, but I kept donating anyway."
Paschal had donated around 150 pints of blood before eventually moving on to donating platelets.
He said his 600th donation was dedicated to Dublin football mascot Molly McNally (6), who underwent a bone marrow transplant on Monday.
"I'd know Molly's father quiet well from going to the Dublin games, so I told the hospital that if there was any way the platelet donation could go to her it would be greatly appreciated," he said.
Platelets are small cells present in the blood of all healthy people and are essential to enable it to clot properly.
Donated platelets are vital as they are used in the treatment of seriously ill patients such as those with cancer, burn victims and premature babies.
Jo Lawler of the IBTS said the need to donate platelets is greater than ever. With a shelf life of only five days, demand is growing by the day.
"We need people to keep donating and to start donating because we're always in short supply of platelets even though they're in constant demand," she said.
"We'd like to congratulate Paschal on his achievement as well as the other 2,400 people who donate in our two clinics in Dublin and Cork. It's important that we get more people on board."
Liffey Gaels chairman Keith D'Arcy said he and everybody at the club were proud their fellow member.