Brave Robyn's mum in urgent appeal for more blood donors

Teenager Robyn Smyth

Sarah Slater

The mother of a teenager who has been battling cancer for 12 years is appealing to the public to donate platelets as the country's supply is running low.

Robyn Smyth (15), of Whitehall, Dublin, has been fighting the aggressive cancer neuroblastoma since she was three.

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) said that after the Christmas and New Year break, blood supplies are running low, while the cold and flu season is adding to the problem.


Robyn's mother, Bernadette Dornan, has been by her daughter's side since her diagnosis in September 2007.

The family continue to go through the highs and extreme lows that cancer treatment can bring.

Over Christmas, Robyn had to attend Crumlin Children's Hospital several times for vital platelet transfusions.

"I can't emphasise enough just how important platelets are and how the public need to urgently donate," Bernadette said.

"Robyn needed several transfusions over Christmas and New Year, and without them life would be a lot different for her.

"She has received these particular types of transfusions along with blood throughout her young life. Simply put, they keep people alive.

"She spent a lot of time in and out of hospital over Christmas, which was tough on her, but blood and platelets are vital for her and so many others.

"Robyn is the one who's bearing all this. It's Robyn going through this, not me. I'd do anything to swap places, anything.

"It's been 12 years since this nightmare began and a lot of heartache."

According to the IBTS, one in four people will need a blood transfusion, but only 3pc of the eligible population are active blood donors.


Blood lasts only 35 days, and 3,000 donations are needed each week.

"On any given day, 200 patients receive transfusions in Irish hospitals, and the demand for blood is constant," the IBTS said in a statement.

"We rely on our donors and are urging them to give a priceless gift of life."

Since becoming ill, Robyn has been treated in Dublin and at several hospitals in the US, thanks largely to her relatives and friends and public donations which raised hundreds of thousands of euro.

For further information on making a donation of blood call 01 4322833, or to speak to IBTS staff call 021 4807429.