A Ballymoney man is encouraging blood donations to save lives - in more ways than one.
Rugby playing Chris McIlmoyle went along to a blood donation session in the Holmes Memorial Hall in November 2012.
Aged 40 at the time, Chris was feeling well and simply went along to the session to donate blood for the benefit of others.
Chris takes up the story: “After filling in the forms the nurse brought me up to do the pin prick. She noted that my iron levels were very low for a man so I was advised to contact my GP.
“As I was a shift worker I thought my tiredness was down to an unusual sleep pattern.
“I attended my GP who referred me for a colonoscopy where they discovered a tumour of approximately nine centimetres in my stomach.
“In May I had surgery to remove my stomach.
“I was 100kg before surgery, now I’m 79kg. I was a 40 year old rugby playing fella and didn’t feel ill whatsoever.
“If it hadn’t been for me giving blood I never would have known about this until it would have been too late. “Donating blood saves lives and, in a different way than normal, it saved mine.
“Every blood test is like a mini MOT,” he said.
The Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service will be in Ballymoney in the Holmes Memorial Hall on May 18th and 19th.
They will also visit Bushmills on May 27th.
To check the dates and times of your nearest blood donation session, check out their website www.nibts.org