An fresh appeal has been issued for black people to donate blood because of a chronic shortage of the Ro subtype.
The NHS says the need is particularly urgent in London, where there has been an 80% increase in demand for the subtype over the past three years, due mainly because of the growing numbers of people with sickle cell disease.
London’s blood Stock Holding Units are asked for 3,966 units every month, but there is insufficient Ro blood to meet demand, according to NHS Blood and Transplant.
A ‘Summer of Saving Lives’ event in Catford, organised with the charities SickleKan, Unsickle My Cells and WANTS ssg (We Are Not The Same Sicklecell Support Group), was held recently to encourage more black people to give blood to help sickle cell patients. Across London, there are about 4,500 black blood donors.
Mike Stredder, director of blood donation for NHS Blood and Transplant said: “We’re so grateful for the support of SickleKan, Unsickle My Cells, and We Are Not The Same. More and more black people are saving lives through blood donation and we plan to hold more community events like this. However the overall shortage of donors remains and we need more people to register as donors – it’s quick and easy to start saving lives.”
Lisa Phillip, aged 40, from Lewisham, attended the event to support the call for more blood donors because her eight-year-old daughter, Miai, has sickle cell disease and receives blood transfusions at University College Hospital.
Lisa added: “It is very important we encourage our communities to regularly donate to ensure there is enough in supply to meet demand and help individuals like Miai on the road to recovery.
“My gratitude extends to all the donors who have helped Miai and given her the strength to do all the things she loves best. If you are thinking about giving blood for the first time or you are a regular donor please be reassured that each bag of blood is like a little bag of hope. It’s an invaluable life line.”
Source: NHS Blood and Transplant
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