A local man who has been making lifesaving donations in memory of a former colleague who died following a battle with leukaemia has reached a landmark milestone in his journey.

Quality Manager Shawn Humphreys, who works for construction firm Pave Aways, today completed his 200th donation of platelets and plasma,

Shawn started making donations in 2015 as one of 50 things he pledged to achieve in his 50th year. But he decided to carry on donating for as long as he could after meeting and working with Neil Holding, Pave Aways’ former Quality Manager.

Neil, who lived in Shrewsbury, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in April 2016 and died eight months later.

Shawn travels from his home in Ellesmere to the donation centre in Stoke every four weeks to give a double unit of platelets and one of plasma.

One platelet donation can help up to three adults or 12 children. NHS Blood and Transplant collects platelets by separating them out from normal whole blood donations, but there is also a very dedicated and valuable group of donors like Shawn who just donate their platelets. This can be done at any of the 23 permanent donor centres in England [1].

The donation process involves Shawn being connected to a cell-separator machine which extracts the platelets from his blood. It then returns the red blood cells to his body.

Shawn explained: “My blood type is A negative so my platelets can be given to someone of any blood type. Platelets provide lifesaving help to people with various illnesses, with 69 per cent of platelet donations going to cancer patients.

“I usually start my sessions at 8am and work on my laptop while the extraction takes place over the next hour. Neil’s illness and death really brought it home to me about how important it was to continue once I’d reached 50 donations. I am so grateful to Pave Aways for allowing me to take the time to do this during my working day. Making it to 200 is a really positive achievement and I intend to carry on as long as I possibly can.”

Pave Aways Managing Director Steven Owen said: “We’re very proud of Shawn and this amazing achievement. What he does is literally helping to save people’s lives and it’s a great legacy in memory of our colleague Neil, who is very much missed.”

Diane Furnival, Senior Sister at the Stoke donor centre, said: “On behalf of NHS Blood and Transplant and the Stoke donor centre team, I’d like to say a big thank you to Shawn for his donations and helping to save lives since 2015 and during the pandemic. You are amazing!”

Pictured: Shawn making his 200th platelet and plasma donation

Pictured: Shawn with the bag of plasma and triple donation of platelets he made on his landmark 200th milestone.

Pictured: Shawn Humphreys.