Wanted: 118,000 more blood donors

10 June 2014
Around 118,000 more first time donors are needed to attend a blood donation session between now and the end of December to protect blood supplies, according to a report released during National Blood Week.

In a football-themed campaign to tie in with the World Cup, fronted by former England footballer Lee Nixon pictured, left, with first time donors Emma Richardson and Thomas Wylie Davidson, NHS Blood and Transplant is calling for more people to ‘get off the bench’ and start giving blood.

Each year 200,000 new donors are required to attend a donation session to replace those who can no longer donate for health or other reasons. This year 82,000 new donors have already given blood, but more are needed, especially those aged 17-24 years old who currently account for just 14% of donors in England and North Wales. Young donors are crucial to ensuring there is a robust donor base for the years to come and to protect the future supply of blood.

Jon Latham, Assistant Director for Donor Services and Marketing at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We’re issuing a ‘call up’ for more to come forward because we know blood donation falls off the to-do list during hot weather and summer holidays, and big public events like the World Cup. We want potential donors to know they can do something amazing for their country just as the England team will hopefully do in Brazil! Make a date to donate and please keep your appointment to help us maintain and ensure stock levels for the coming months and for the future."

Former England footballer Lee Dixon showed his support by visiting the West End Donor Centre in London to meet first time donors. He said: "Blood donors don’t always get the recognition they deserve but in putting the needs of others ahead of their own they show real team spirit.”

As long as you are fit and healthy, weigh over 7 stone 12 lbs (50kg) and are aged between 17 and 66 (up to 70 if you have given blood before) you should be able to give blood. If you are over 70, you need to have given blood in the last two years to continue donating.

To register and book an appointment to donate, visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.

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