Thousands of people who suffer from a blood condition known as the ‘Celtic Curse’ will now be able to able to donate blood for the first time.
Sufferers of the hereditary condition haemochromatosis undergo regular blood removal procedures to get rid of excess iron. Up until now the blood has been discarded by Irish hospitals.
Around 40,000 people in Ireland have haemochromatosis.
However, the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) is now ready to accept eligible people with haemochromatosis as blood donors. They have developed a method of filtering the blood, so it can be part of its normal supplies.
According to the IBTS, it is hoped that within a year the new service will secure around 5,000 donations a year, which is up to 4 percent of the national blood supply.
The condition has been dubbed the ‘Celtic Curse’ due to the high incidence of the condition among Irish people.
It causes your body to absorb too much iron from the food you consume. The excess iron becomes stored in your organs, especially your liver, heart and pancreas.
It can lead to life-threatening conditions such as cancer, heart problems and liver disease.
People with haemochromatosis who would like to donate blood in Ireland can contact the IBTS Clinic at 01-4745000.
More details are also available at www.giveblood.ie