Masterplan to boost blood donation

Andrea Paton with daughter Olivia
Andrea Paton with daughter Olivia

Wigan people are being urged to commit to saving lives by registering as new blood donors during a potentially life-saving Missing Type campaign.

NHS Blood and Transplant is uniting with 25 blood donor organisations across 21 countries to highlight an almost 30 per cent international drop in people becoming donors last year compared to a decade ago.

“We are so grateful to everyone who donates. I urge people to support Missing Type and register as new donors at blood.co.uk.”

Andrea Paton

The number of people becoming donors and giving blood for the first time in England decreased by 24.4 per cent in 2015 compared to 2005.

There is a particular need for more young blood donors and more black and Asian donors as well as younger people - most donors are currently aged over 45.

Olivia Paton, aged four, has had 16 blood and platelet transfusions to cope with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a rare cancer of the white blood cells the most common childhood cancer.

She is on oral maintenance chemotherapy after a more intensive initial course of treatment.

The family have been collecting a necklace of Beads of Courage, which chart children’s care as a memento. Olivia’s necklace is now too heavy for her to wear, it has so many beads.

These include 16 red beads for the blood, plus yellow for hospital stays, white for chemotherapy, any more other colours for experiences like ambulance journeys and intravenous drips, blood draws and lumbar punctures.

Mum Andrea said Olivia has coped “remarkably well” with her treatment so far.

“She just gets on with it. Throughout the treatment Olivia has had so many blood transfusions, to deal with the effects of the leukaemia and the chemotherapy. Before a transfusion, her energy is sapped.

“She fell asleep as soon as she got into the car to go to the hospital.

“She suddenly gets her colour back, she is nice and pinked up. She calls blood her ‘red juice’ and platelets her ‘orange juice’. We are so grateful to everyone who donates. I urge people to support Missing Type and register as new donors at blood.co.uk.”

More black and south Asian blood donors are needed because people from a similar ethnic background are more likely to have more closely matched blood, which patients require for the best possible clinical outcome. People from black and Asian communities are also more likely to have conditions such as Sickle Cell Disease and Thalassemia, which need regular blood transfusions.

To sign up as a new donor, visit: www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.