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Help avoid a double dip in blood donations this Easter

Help avoid a double dip in blood donations this Easter

| by Tooting Newsie | Posted in News, Health & Fitness
  Harley Penty

NHS Blood and Transplant is urging donors in London to help prevent a double dip in blood donations by making and keeping their appointments to give blood in the run up to Easter.

Due to recent freezing weather and snow, many people have not been able to donate. The bad weather has also led to some sessions being cancelled and therefore 6-7,000 units of blood being lost – the equivalent of a whole days’ worth of stock – which could take weeks to recover. On top of that, blood stocks are more likely to drop around public holidays like Easter when people go on holiday or enjoy days out with the family.

Current blood stocks are vulnerable and donors are needed to help make sure there is enough to supply what is needed to hospitals. Stock Holding Units ideally hold 6 days’ worth of blood to supply local hospitals. Currently, the units in Tooting and Colindale, which supply blood to hospitals across the capital, have just 4 days’ worth of blood, so it’s vital donors help replenish these stocks.

At the moment, stocks are particularly low on group O, group B and A positive blood.

Hospitals across England need more than 6,000 blood donations every day to treat patients in emergency situations or with ongoing treatment for things like blood disorders or cancers.

Harley Penty is one little boy who knows how vital blood is. The 3-year-old from Derby has been receiving blood transfusions and other blood products since March 2016 as part of his treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.

His mum, Leanne, says: “Harley was 15 months old and a normal baby. I found a rash on his neck with pink dots so we took him to A&E at Derby straight away because we were worried about meningitis. They did blood tests and they said it wasn't meningitis but there was something there.

"They did more tests at the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham and they said it was leukaemia. It was just a massive shock. It wasn't something that we even considered.”

Harley has had more than 50 transfusions of platelets, and more than 25 of blood. The transfusions mostly came during the aggressive chemotherapy treatment, when he sometimes needed more than three a week.

"Before a blood transfusion he would be very pale and have no energy,” said Leanne. “Afterwards he would be back to his usual self and full of energy.

“Harley wouldn't be here without blood donors. Blood donation was something we'd never thought about. A lot of friends and family have now signed up to donate after seeing what Harley has been through, and also joined the NHS Organ Donor Register."

Darren Bowen, Head of Regional Marketing in London at NHS Blood and Transplant, said, “There are people desperately in need of a blood transfusion over the Easter period, so it’s vital that those people who have appointments in the London keep them or let us know in good time so we can offer them up to someone else.

“The recent bad weather hit our blood stocks and we now need to make up that shortfall. We can only do this with the help of our generous donors who come out in all weathers to help keep the blood flowing.

“New donors are always needed and you could help those like Harley who need blood as part of ongoing cancer treatment as well as those who need blood during emergency surgery or childbirth. Each donation can save or improve up to three lives.”

Make and keep your appointment to donate in London by calling the Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23 or visit 

It is also easy to book through mobile apps for Windows, Android and Apple devices. To download the app, search 'NHSGiveBlood' in the app store.

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