NHS Blood and Transplant is urging people in Cornwall to say #ImThere and start saving lives by registering as new blood donors during National Blood Week (today to June 25).
Over the last year, 900,000 people have given up their time to help patients in need. But the service says 200,000 new blood donors each year are needed to ensure that patients in the future have access to the blood they need, when they need it.
Last year, 11,274 people in Cornwall gave blood at least once. But new blood donors are crucial for ensuring the right mix of blood groups to meet patient need.
There is a particular need for more young people, who will become the next generation of donors. Half of all donors in England are over 45.
More black donors are also needed - approximately 10,000 black people donated last year but an estimated 40,000 new black donors could help combat sickle cell disease across England.
Sickle cell disease is the fastest growing genetic condition in England and most common in black people, causing extreme pain, life-threatening infections and other complications such as stroke or loss of vision.
Mike Stredder, director of blood donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, says: ’Every day, blood donors from Cornwall make a difference; saving people whose lives depend on blood. Whether it is patients receiving treatment for cancer, blood disorders, after accidents, surgery or during childbirth.
’Thanks to the generosity of our loyal network of regular donors, we can ensure that hospitals have the blood needed to treat patients and, as recent weeks have sadly proven, make certain our stocks are strong enough to respond to major incidents and emergencies.
’At the same time, there is an ongoing need for more young donors to safeguard blood donation for future generations. And it is vital our blood donors, reflect the diversity of the population because blood types vary across communities. Those who rely on regular transfusions, need blood which is more closely matched than by group alone, and this will often come from donors of the same ethnicity.’
Donating blood should take no more than an hour from appointment time and each donation can save or improve up to three lives.
In general, 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.
To sign up as a new donor or book an appointment, visit: www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.