Lord Simon Woolley, principal of Homerton College, Cambridge, is spearheading a new campaign aimed at increasing the number of Black blood donors.
Lord Woolley, also the founder of Operation Black Vote, joined Dame Sharon White, chair of the John Lewis partnership to kick off the campaign by visiting a new NHS Donor Centre.
“One of the drivers is to get young people to donate, and specifically to highlight the lack of people of African and Caribbean descent on the blood donor register,” he said
“It was my first-time giving blood – it was really easy, and pain-free. Giving blood saves lives!”
The campaign aims to raise awareness of the urgent need for more Black heritage blood donors. The latest data from NHS Blood and Transplant shows that only 1% of active blood donors in England are Black.
Every day 250 donations are needed to treat sickle cell, the fastest growing genetic condition in the UK. This compares with 150 a day 5 years ago.
Sickle cell is more prevalent in Black people and ethnically matched blood provides the best treatment.
Over 55% of Black people in the UK have the Ro subtype needed by sickle cell patients compared with 2% of the general population.
More Black donors are urgently needed to meet the increasing demand.
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