Interviews

The Donor – Now I value every day

This article was first published on: 16/06/2008

Why did you want to tell us your story? Because I know how vital giving blood is. After the birth of my youngest son, Seth, in 2006 I lost two litres of blood. I’m not certain,but I think I needed four trans-fusions of blood. Most people seem to take blood donors’ immense generosity for granted. I think more people need to donate.

Did you need a blood transfusion straight away? After I gave birth I was sent to recovery and was feeling ok. Several hours later my partner noticed there was something wrong, and I needed a transfusion.

It must have been a scary time.How did you feel? When you lose blood that quickly you don’t really know what is happening around you. I was falling in and out of consciousness and you put your trust in others. It was actually far more frightening for my partner.

Has the experience changed your perspective on life?It’s made me value every day. You get so caught up in the minutiae of life – sometimes I have to mentally shake myself and say – wake up –count your blessings, you almost didn’t make it.

Have you or you family ever given blood?I gave a few donations in my student days and feel ashamed Idid not give more. My mum was an intensive care nurse so she is very aware of the importance.

You have been one of the first on the scene at many major global events. Has this changed your outlook?
The Pakistan earthquake was the toughest for me. People were pulling their loved ones from collapsed buildings and I felt an immense sense of guilt reporting the story. There was no running water and we slept in the car, but most people had lost everything. It was important for the BBC to be there as we have a large Pakistani community in the UK who rely on us to keep them in touch. Every time we gave the appeal line number all the telephones rang constantly.

Is presenting something you had always wanted to do? Not at all. I always thought it was  for other people. It was for pretty girls who grew up at the front of the class getting all the attention and loving it! I was very happy behind the scenes as a producer.When the chance to present came up, I did it for a laugh – I certainly didn’t expect it to become a career.

We heard there was a funny story about how you ended up in front of the camera.A friend booked a studio as part of the interview for presenters but one would-be presenter didn’t show up. I was asked to give it a go

– to keep the studio team happy. I was wearing a bluey-green t-shirt which meant the projected pictures kept flashing up on me Because I was treating it as a bit of fun I didn’t worry about it and couldn’t believe it when I was offered the job as anchor. I had my doubts, you always do, but it is the best job I’ve ever had.

How do you find enough hours in the day for your family? Millions of women have jobs and find time for their children. I alwaysthink I could be a better mum, butyou just do your best. I am up at four every morning but get home by noon so I still have time with my boys. They come first and if my job meant I couldn’t spend enough time with them I wouldn’t do it.

What would be your idea of a perfect day? Walking through the woods with all the boys, a pub lunch, then an afternoon by the beach, then watching a weepy film before a curry supper.