Former patients raising awareness about blood and organ donation after their own experiences
Christine Grixti and Claudine Muscat have two things in common. Both of them work at the Malta Council for Science and Technology and both feel obligated towards who have donated blood, and in the case of Christine, the donation of a heart which she received two years ago. Christine and Claudine are now the faces of a campaign at their place of work to increase the number of blood and organ donors.
Christine Grixti lived half of her life with serious heart problems. She spent nine years going in and out of hospital on the brink of death. It all started when she was 18 and a virus attacked her heart muscles.
“It was very difficult because I knew that I had heart failure and that the only way I was going to live was to have a heart transplant.”
Up until two years ago, when a heart for her was found, every emotion, even the slightest one, caused great damage.
“The worst time was last year and the last few months before the heart arrived, where I literally could not even be happy for two minutes. I had an episode where I had to have the ICD, which is like a salva vita, just because I got excited on one particular occasion,” she said.
Today, Christine is using her experience to promote organ donation and blood donation which she says go together, because for every transplant which is carried out, there is also a great need for blood, and in her case it turned out that the surgeons needed more than they had expected.
“On Friday I had the operation, and everything was going well but during the night on Saturday I lost two litres of blood which was not expected and they had to immediately give me another two litres because I only had one litre of blood left, so I was dying just the same,” says Christine.
Meanwhile, for Claudine Muscat, who suffers from Thalassemia, blood is life. This is a genetic condition which affects the red blood cells, and she needs to have a blood transfusion every 4- 5 weeks.
“I receive four bags of blood, which comes to around one litre. To be precise I receive red blood cells. I have survived so far because blood transfusions have kept me healthy, without them I feel very tired and I cannot concentrate. I even feel tired climbing up the stairs,” says Claudine.
Thanks to the Malta Council for Science and Technology in collaboration with the Blood Transfusion Service, Christine and Claudine on Friday will be organising the event, “Bloody Late”. The aim of this event at Esplora in Kalkara is to raise awareness about blood and organ donation. Between 2pm – 5pm, Villa Bighi will be open to the public for those who wish to donate blood.