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6 Facts That Show Why It’s So Important to Give Blood to the NHS

Why Global Citizens Should Care 
The UN’s Global Goal 3 targets good health and well-being for everyone. People donating blood is a way for us all to individually help progress towards that target, by helping ensure that the NHS has the supplies needed to help save and improve lives across Britain. But the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that donations could be falling, which is why we’re partnering with NHS Blood and Transplant to help make sure everyone knows how easy and vital it is to give blood. Take action here to fight for universal health care for everyone.

“Blood is life” — according to pretty much every incarnation of Dracula, in some fanged form, from Bram Stoker all the way to 2020’s contemporary adaptation.

The vampire mythology, for all you mere humans at least, has turbocharged the topic of blood as leaving a somewhat sour taste in the mouth. But it’s always been right on the money in what blood means: all those red blood cells, platelets, and plasma don’t just sustain life. It is life. 

That’s why Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) needs a consistent supply of blood — to keep the country standing strong during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s especially important for rarer blood types, so the NHS can provide lifesaving transfusions to patients across the country. 

So in response, the NHS Blood and Transplant is partnering with a digital agency called the Cantine, Global Citizen, the Design Museum, and more to join the community of blood donors and be there for the NHS when it is needed. Blood is life — and the lives of many could depend on it.

We’re doing it with an art competition, calling on creatives everywhere to draw inspiration from iconic wartime posters to spread this bold, uplifting message and get their communities to donate blood. The five winners, chosen by a judging panel featuring us alongside our partners, will receive press and social media exposure across partner and NHS social channels as well as panelist mentoring sessions. Find out more here

If the pandemic and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have taught us anything, it’s that you don’t need superpowers to save the world. Whether it’s Britain’s key workers fighting the virus every single day or Buffy’s human friends in her scooby gang, everyone has a part to play. 

“You’re not special,” Xander tells Dawn, one painfully human character to another, in season seven of the show. “You’re extraordinary.” 

You can be a hero too. Here’s why it’s so important to give blood. 

1. NHS Blood and Transplant need nearly 400 new donors a day. 

It might not need to call on all its donors, all the time. But the NHS needs new people every day to guarantee a full supply of blood types to every patient the whole year round.

And if you have a rare blood type, you can do an astonishing amount of good — for example, did you know that O negative is the only universal blood type that can be used for anybody, no matter what their own blood type is?

New donors can register online here to make an appointment.

2. In the last year, the NHS had 135,000 new blood donors.

For whatever reason, people stop giving blood all the time. It’s nothing to do with the experience itself, though: a survey from 2015 found that nine in 10 donors said giving blood was either as they had expected or even easier than they expected it to be.

Approximately, the NHS needs 135,000 new blood donors each year to replace those who can’t donate anymore. Thankfully, last year, people went above and beyond. But given the pandemic, it’s more critical than ever that new donors sign up.

Related Stories Aug. 9, 2019 This British Mum With Incredibly Rare Blood Has Already Saved Dozens of Lives

3. Britain needs nearly 5,000 donations a day.

The appointment won’t take more than an hour out of your day — and it won’t take more than 15 minutes to actually give blood. 

You can book via this website or by calling 0300 123 23 23.

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4. And in particular, 40,000 more Black donors are needed.

There are currently 15,000 people in the UK with a health condition that mostly affects people of Black African or Caribbean heritage. It’s called sickle cell disease: a lifelong inherited health condition that produces unusually shaped red blood cells that can block blood vessels.

It’s a condition that often requires regular transfusions of rare blood types like “Ro” — a subtype that Black African or Caribbean people are 10 times more likely to have.

Sickle cell disease is the fastest growing genetic disorder in the UK. All in all, that means it’s absolutely crucial that Black Britons give blood. 

Related Stories Sept. 8, 2017 This 13-Year-Old Girl Helped a Record of 8 People to Live by Donating Her Organs

5. One donation could save the lives of up to three people.

With every donation you make, the lives of up to three seriously sick adults — or six unwell children — could be saved.  

Everyone has their own story: like Solome, a sickle cell patient, and Zamzam, a blood donor with the “Ro” subtype. The duo met for the first time last year, with Solome giving Zamzam a card from her husband and children, thanking her for donating.

“Without your blood and the blood of others like you, my wife would never have survived to see her children grow,” Salome’s husband wrote.

6. Six million biscuits are eaten after giving blood every year.

Biscuits are life too. Did anyone ever try just giving Dracula a Hobnob?

Whenever you give blood, you get 15 minutes afterwards to chill out with a cup of tea and a selection of biscuits. We’ve heard unconfirmed reports of copious Club bars, Bourbons, and fruit shortcakes

Head to the NHS Give Blood website for more information about donating and dunking!