New blood donors needed

Rachel Benton
Rachel Benton
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Health leaders are urging Nottinghamshire people to become life savers as it is revealed the number of new people donating blood has decreased by almost a quarter in recent years.

NHS Blood and Transplant is calling on people to register as new blood donors during the Missing Type campaign, in which it is uniting with 25 blood donor organisations across 21 countries to highlight an almost 30 per cent international drop in people becoming blood donors last year compared to a decade ago. The number of people becoming donors and giving blood for the first time in England decreased by 24.4 per cent in 2015 compared to 2005.

Last year, 20,001 people in Nottinghamshire gave blood at least once. New blood donors are crucial for ensuring there is the right mix of blood groups to meet patient need. Half of all donors in England are over 45 and it’s important to recruit younger people to donate blood to help meet patient needs now and in the future. Last year, 13.3 per cent of donors in Nottinghamshire were aged 17-24, and 53.9 per cent of donors were aged 45 or over.

Rachel Benton, 37, from Ollerton had 128 units of platelets and 54 units of blood during lifesaving treatment for very severe aplastic anaemia.

The married mum of two was diagnosed with the illness in March 2012. Her bone marrow, which is where blood cells are produced, including white blood cells and platelets, had gone into failure.

She said: “I couldn’t walk across a room or read a story to my children without being out of breath. I had lots of bruises, and I keep bleeding when I was cut, because I had no platelets. I had lots of blood blisters and ulcers in my mouth. I would get a lot of nose bleeds and countless throat and ear infections. I would start to fall asleep if ever I sat down.

“Getting blood for the first time was a very strange sensation but two days later I felt great; for the first time in months I could move without wanting to pass out and I could think and breathe again.”

Rachel recovered with two bone marrow transplants.

She added: “I urge people to please support Missing Type and register as new donors at blood.co.uk.”

To sign up as a new donor, visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.