Anti-D donor Steve Gansberg is just happy to help
Dedicated blood donor and die-hard Collingwood supporter, Stephen Gansberg has been making a very special type of donation for over 40 years. He’s an anti-D donor, and the plasma he gives has saved the lives of thousands of babies.
For a life-saver, Steve doesn’t take himself too seriously. If you ask him what his family thinks of the incredible work he does, he just laughs: ‘My daughter always asks me – how many unlucky kids are walking around out there with a bit of you in them?’ Of course, anti-D is actually given to a pregnant mother – not their child – but we’re sure every kid would count themselves lucky for the donation Steve gave.
What is anti-D?
Anti-D immunoglobin is an injection that is made up of the plasma from donors like Stephen. These injections prevent Rh(D) negative women from developing potentially harmful antibodies during pregnancy with an Rh(D) positive baby. Without it, their next Rh(D) positive baby could suffer from Haemolytic Disease of the Fetus and Newborn (HDFN), which can be fatal.
Like many donors Steve began donating for personal reasons. His father had served during World War 2 and later passed away from complications caused during his service. Before his death, Stephen’s dad was receiving regular platelet transfusions. Seeing how those transfusions were able to help his father motivated Stephen to become a donor. Today, Steve has made over 277 donations, an incredible achievement for any donor, but one made even more impactful by the fact that many of these donations were the source of life-saving anti-D for countless mothers and their babies.
While these numbers might sound impressive, for Stephen it’s never been about the figures, he just cares about the kids, ‘I don’t really think about the impact I’m having. I’m just happy to help children be born happy and healthy.’
At 71, Stephen’s showing no sign of slowing down, but his time as a donor is coming to an end (Donors must be between 18-75 to donate) and with only 150 active anti-D donors in Australia, making sure we find the next generation of life-savers is vital. So, if you want to find out if you can give anti-D, the only way to know for sure is to give blood – well, plasma to be precise!
How you can help
- If you are a man, or woman past childbearing years, who is Rh (D) negative, we’d love to talk to you.
- If you’re not sure if you’re Rh (D) negative, all you have to do is make a plasma donation and while you’re giving that special gift of life make sure to ask about our anti-D program.
- If you'd like to know more, simply call us on 13 14 95.