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Monday, 28 July 2014

Bid to find 10,000 extra blood donors across north west

More than 10,000 new blood donors are needed across Cumbria and the north west to meet current shortfalls.

A new national campaign aims to recruit 100,000 new donors – including 10,500 in this region – in just 100 days.

It has been backed by stars of TV soap Hollyoaks and fashion designer Wayne Hemingway.

The NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) service is launching the appeal in an urgent bid protect future blood stocks. It says every year 225,000 new donors are needed to replace existing individuals who drop out of the system.

But this year the need is even more urgent following a dramatic decline in the number of younger donors signing up. Hollyoaks stars including Jorgie Porter have pledged their support by modelling limited edition ‘Blood Sister’ and ‘Blood Brother’ T-shirts created by Red or Dead founder Hemingway.

Jorgie said: “I really wanted to support this appeal because giving blood is such an amazing thing to do. Blood isn’t just needed when people have accidents – it’s also used to help treat health conditions including cancer and long-term illnesses and in maternity care.

“If someone you loved needed blood you’d want it to be there, so if you can donate then please do,” she said.

NHSBT stresses that young people are vital to the service, with 17 to 24-year-olds accounting for around 40 per cent of new donors each year.

Of the 10,500 donors needed from the north west, approximately 4,200 are expected to be in this age bracket. But the number of young donors registering has been falling steadily – by 20 per cent over the last 10 years.

This year has seen a particularly sharp decline, with a 50 per cent drop in the number of 17 and 18-year-olds registering compared to 2011.

NHSBT spokesperson Jon Latham said: “The number of young people donating has been falling for the last decade but this year there’s been a sharp drop, and we now need 100,000 donors to sign up in the next 100 days to start addressing the shortfall. We welcome new donors of any age, but a failure to boost the number of young donors now will put a strain on the blood service in the years to come.”

Hospitals across England need 7,000 units of blood every day and each unit saves or improves the lives of up to three people. Over a lifetime, some blood donors help more than 500 people.

Recruitment events will be taking place across the region from next week.

To find out if you are eligible and make a date to donate, visit www.blood.co.uk or call us on 0300 123 23 23.

A limited number of the campaign T-shirts will also be up for grabs via the NHSBT Twitter page – @GiveBloodNHS – from Monday.

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