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RYAN CINNAMOND: An inspiration to our generation

Year 14 student, Emma Martin, has come up with the idea to target St Paul’s High School students in Bessbrook, and the wider community, encouraging them to donate blood as part of a wider community initiative on Friday 8th November.


Past pupil Ryan Cinnamond is the inspiration behind the ‘blood drive’ atSt Paul’s. In 2010 he suffered a life threatening illness and received approximately 64 units of blood in order to save his life.  He later had both his legs amputated and received potentially a further transfusion of 100units. This is thought to be the second largest blood transfusion received inNorthern Ireland.

Emma’s blood drive is aiming to replenish the blood supply of the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service in honour of Ryan and to recognise how he has battled and overcome obstacles that others would have succumbed to. Emma, along with the Cinnamond and Martin family, is also encouraging people in the wider community to come on board and donate blood in St Paul’s on Friday 8th November.


Earlier this month, at the invitation of Emma, The Blood Transfusion Service spoke at Year 14 Assembly to officially launch the beginning of their community based ‘blood drive’ in this area. This gave the Year 14 students a chance to understand how they can give blood, what will happen on the day and how the blood will be used afterwards.


The idea came from the Martin family, who after watching Ryan win the ”Young Person’s Award’ at the Spirit of Northern Ireland awards earlier this year, where shocked to hear it took such a huge amount of blood to save him. They came up with the idea to hold a blood drive to coincide with the third year anniversary of when Ryan became ill.

Emma took the initiative to contact the Cinnamond family who were delighted with the prospect of the fundraiser, as they recognised that Ryan would not have survived his illness if it had not have been for the people who had already donated blood.


It was decided to approachSt Paul’s High School to host theBlood Driveas Ryan was a pupil in the school when he became ill, leaving in June 2013 and Emma will complete her A’Level exams there in 2014. TheSt Paul’s community were a constant support for the Cinnamond family when Ryan was ill and have continued to support Ryan and the family up until this day, two of Ryan’s brothers are still pupils at the school.


ThroughoutSt Paul’s High School the campaign has been in full swing since school returned in September.  Emma has been working alongside Head of Health and Social Care, Mrs Christine Fearon and her Health and Social Students to publicise the campaign and to identify potential donors in the school, both students and teachers alike. Year 08 students took part in a competition to ‘name’ the event with over 142 entries, several of which will be included in the campaign.  Pupils from the Home Economics classes will provide refreshments on the day.  Many additional donors have been sought from the local area and in excess of 220 people have committed to donating a unit of blood on that date.  It is hoped that other people may call in on the day as the session will be open to the general public.

It is hoped that this will become an annual event within the school with the campaign ethos “Giving is Living” encouraging young people aged from 17 years of age to recognise the gift that their contribution of a unit of blood will make to help save many lives.

Emma would like to thank the Cinnamond and Martin families, St Pauls’s High School teachers and pupils, Translink, CCL Services and Patricia Keenan Bessbrook for their efforts to support the blood drive by helping with the organising and accessing potential volunteers.