Welshman owes his life to blood donors following early career crash

Fresh from competing on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix, Geraint Thomas will today be back in his native South Wales to encourage people to give blood.

The Welshman will be visiting the headquarters of near his home town of Cardiff and he has good reason to rally his compatriots to the cause, having himself received transfusions which effectively saved his life.

Thomas suffered a freak accident while training in Sydney for the 2005 World Cup when a piece of metal debris flicked up by a training partner got tangled in his front wheel, stopping it dead.

The resulting crash, in which he landed on the bike’s handlebars, ruptured his spleen. With internal bleeding, he required emergency surgery to remove the organ, received two blood transfusions and spent four days in intensive care.

Geraint told the Western Mail: “From what I’ve been told, it was touch and go – without the blood transfusions I wouldn’t be here now.

“Giving blood is definitely something that I’d like to help promote. Because I’ve had a blood transfusion, I can’t donate but I know about the work that’s going on in Wales and I want to help support them and get the message out.”

Geraint will be at the Welsh Blood Service’s HQ in Talbot Green to see a new blood donation clinic which will be open from Monday to Saturday by appointment.

He told the Mail: “You never know what life is going to throw at you.It is incredible when you think about it, anyone at anytime could need a helping hand from a stranger who donates blood. It is really special.”

His visit also coincides with the Service’s announcement that it can now accept blood donations from people who have had tattoos, body piercings and cosmetic surgery involving skin piercing, four months after such procedures have taken place, providing they meet other requirements.

If you live in the central and southern part of Wales and want to become a blood donor you can contact the Welsh Blood Service on 0800 252266 or visit their website at www.welshblood.org.uk.