World Blood Donor Day was overshadowed by the FIFA World Cup last week – but in the UK leading footballers have been doing their part to encourage donation.
Former England Captain Paul Ince made an appeal to football supporters to register as blood donors, supporting calls for more male donors.
NHS Blood and Transplant recruited the footballer for a drive to increase the number of male donors.
Some two-thirds of new donors are female and the service wants 25,000 additional men as donors to improve supplies of plasma and platelets for treatment of trauma.
As England Captain, Paul Ince distinguished himself by continuing to play with blood pouring from his head in a crucial World Cup qualifying match against Italy in 1997.
Addressing fans, Mr Ince said: “That game was so important and despite needing stitches, I knew nothing would make me leave the pitch, I was willing to do anything I could for my country and now I’m asking people to do the same.
“Each donation can save or improve the lives of up to three seriously ill people. It can’t be overemphasised how important each new donor is, where over 6,000 blood donations are required daily to keep the nation pumping. Therefore, please support your country in a way that can make you the heroes off the pitch this World Cup.
“I bled for the team, now it is your turn.”
Mike Stredder, from NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “With 26 million men in England, and Paul Ince recreating his heroics for the country, we hope that 25,000 new male donors is a realistic goal.
“To meet all of our patients’ needs at all times, we need 700 new donors every day to follow the former England captain’s lead and bleed for their team.”
Source: NHS Blood and Transplant/ World Health Organisation
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