What people have said about us
Midland Freewheelers has given me the opportunity to make a difference to someone’s life. The collection of mothers breast milk for distribution to hospitals for premature babies means those babies have a better chance of having a better quality of life in the future. As well as helping parents at worrying times.
Dave Foster- Midland Freewheelers Rider
I feel proud to be doing my bit to help others and at the same time reducing the NHS costs. Just a quick ‘Thank you' from the medical staff for their urgent collection or delivery gives me the satisfaction that we are appreciated. Usually this means that they can immediately treat the patient or know that the consignment is in safe hands and on its way to its next destination for processing. As I leave, I can smile and think to myself…"Today I helped somebody.” Here’s an example:-
As I arrived to drop off a non-urgent sample in A&E, a senior nurse approached me and asked if I could URGENTLY go to another hospital and get some glue. I was a slightly puzzled, but then I realised that it was medical grade glue - some poor chap was lying in a bed in A&E with severe head injuries - the nurses were unable to help him at the time, they urgently needed the glue. The Freewheelers co-ordinator was contacted and within minutes I was off to the other hospital. Within the hour, I was back at the A&E and the nurses were so glad, they couldn’t wait to get the glue from me and immediately began work on the patient. Makes you realise how valuable our service was to the NHS (and for that patient !), just for that one job alone. It was very apparent that even with all the advanced technology, equipment and medicines, the nurses were not able to do anything until I arrived with the glue !! Just imagine if the nurses and patient had been waiting for a taxi to fetch and return with the glue......What a rewarding feeling that was for just one job.
Adrian Reed- Midland Freewheelers Rider
Now we are in partnership with Midland Freewheelers it means we are able to rely on a swift and constant collection of much needed breast milk which when processed is transported to hospitals within the region. This milk is vital to save the lives of sick or premature babies,
Breast Milk increases premature babies chances of survival, it helps build their immunity to infection and enhances their growth. Unfortunately, breast milk isn’t always available from mothers and the use of donor milk is a safe and effective solution. Donors come from across the region and we rely heavily on the assistance of Midland Freewheelers to collect and deliver the donated milk for us. The service we receive from them is extremely reliable and we would find it very hard to run the service without their help.
Jenny and Anne
Senior Milk Bank Staff
Jenny and Anne- Birmingham Women's Hospital
Oh Boy Story
Thursday, 2 June 2016
Most people know they can donate blood, you often see blood drives in local schools/ community centers, even leaflets come through your door asking for donations if national stocks are particularly low. But not as many people know human breast milk is a sometimes even more vital liquid requiring donations.
It is one of the most valuable commodities on the planet, and can mean the world to premature and seriously sick newborn babies. Breast milk is the only thing many tiny babies can digest, but when they are born before their mother has the chance for her own milk to come in, or if she is unable to, or chooses not to express, she must rely on donations.
Granted most people would not be aware of it, because unless it affected you directly, there isn't exactly a conversation about it, but perhaps there should be. It took a neighbor of my Mam's, who is a Blood Biker in Ireland to tell her about it, who in turn told me when I had an over supply on Fionn. I then had to go searching for information on how to do it. Eventually I got in touch with the Birmingham Womens' Hospital and they got me set up.
With Fionn, as he was my first I had to wait until he was 6 weeks old, so that we could establish his feeding, but I could donate right up until he was 6 months old. This is because my milk would have changed to suit the growing needs of an older baby. The milk bank needs milk produced for a baby as close in age to those receiving it as possible.
They ask that you don't drink excessive alcohol or caffeine, or smoke or take drugs. The caffeine was the hardest part! I also needed to have a blood test done, to test for anything that could pass the milk and harm a new baby. Trying to explain to the nurse who took the blood that I had to take the sample home and send it off with the milk proved quite difficult. She had never dealt with anyone who had donated milk before, but with some persuasion she agreed to let me.
This time round, as I had donated before and had bottles left over from the first time, I was able to store my excess from day one. It was quite nice talking to the woman in the milk bank again. She recognised my name from the last time (and probably accent, but she was too polite to say), and said it was lovely to get to tick the 'has donated before' box, as it's not very often they get to do that.
The milk bank I donate to works closely with the Midland Freewheelers, a branch of the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes in the UK. A voluntary emergency rider service. They do the pick ups completely free, which saved me a journey into Birmingham.
As the milk can only stay in my freezer for 12 weeks, and we're off to Ireland for two on Sunday, I asked for a pick up this week. Fionn could not have been more excited for a bright yellow motor bike with sirens to pull up into the garden. He jumped up onto the sofa and waved out the window and shouted 'hello Flynn' over and over. (For non-parents, Flynn is the fire engine in Thomas the tank Engine, so now every emergency response vehicle we see, is called Flynn) He wasn't too impressed with the scary High-vis wearing man who came into the house. He was far from scary, he was lovely, he offered to show Fionn the blue lights and let him sit on the bike, but Fionn was having none of it. He screamed and clung to my neck the entire time. Typically, as soon as he had left and the door was closed, Fionn jumped back up on the sofa and waved 'Bye-bye Flynn'. Kids!!
The Milk Bank provided sealed sterile bottles and labels, and ask that you donate a minimum of 20 100ml bottles. I've filled 30 bottles so far, and hope to have another collection of the same before Daithí is 6 months old. I am lucky that the majority of this comes from collecting leakage while I'm feeding, and doesn't require too much effort with pumping. But even if it did, the small amount of effort from me, can make the world of a difference to a baby who really needs it.
Sharon Canavan- Birmingham