This week marks National Blood Week 2015, which aims to drive up the number of blood donors around the UK. NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) has revealed that 40% fewer new blood donors came forward across England and North Wales last year to give blood compared to this time a decade ago.
NHSBT has been working with partners including retailers and brands, media and celebrities to promote the need for blood donation. They have been removing the letters A, O and B (the letters that make up the blood groups) from their names, raising awareness of the need for more new blood donors with all blood types. We’ve got involved on our Twitter account too!
The campaign – dubbed ‘Missing Type’ – highlights that if not enough new people donate blood and these ‘types’ were to go missing in years to come, there wouldn’t be enough blood available when patients need it. NHSBT needs new donors to fill the gaps left by existing donors who are not able to give blood at this time and to ensure that we have the right mix of blood groups to match patients’ needs.
People from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities make up less than 5% of those who have donated blood within the last 12 months, despite representing around 14% of the population. So its vital that we find more new donors from these communities to reflect and meet the needs of the changing population.
In particular, conditions such as Sickle Cell Disease and Thalassemia are more prevalent within the Black and South Asian communities respectively and these patients benefit from receiving blood from a similar ethnic background. Many with Sickle Trait think they cannot donate but that is not the case. Trait can donate!
So why not take this week to help increase awareness that people from the community can help people within the community, by donating blood. If your a Sickler who has received blood – then why not tell everyone how important blood is to you!