Call for more Luton residents to give blood

Holly-May Chapman
Holly-May Chapman

NHS Blood and Transplant has launched a month-long campaign urging people who have never given blood to register as donors and donate at Luton Blood Donor Centre.

Your blood donation could help a child like eight-year-old local schoolgirl Holly-May Chapman. Holly-May attended the campaign launch with her father and blood donor John Chapman, who said: “Back in 2011, when Holly-May was 22 months old, we received the devastating news she had an aggressive malignant rhabdoid sarcoma tumour growing in her chest area.

“She started treatment almost immediately and had months of gruelling chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery at Addenbrookes Hospital. She needed regular blood and platelet transfusion during her eight months of treatment, receiving more than 30 units of blood to help boost her immune system and during operations.

“What we remember vividly is after she received the transfusions she had a little burst of energy that always managed to put a smile on her face. This normally meant she had the strength so go down to the hospital playroom to do some painting or play with the toys.

“It is wonderful to see Holly-May attend school, go to swimming classes, get a green belt in karate and play with friends like every eight-year-old should. The transfusions were such an important part of Holly-Mays treatment and recovery and we urge people to support this campaign.”

Donors are needed from all blood groups and communities but there is a particular need for more black and Asian donors to help people with sickle cell disease and thalassemia. These patients require blood which is closely matched and this is most likely to come from a donor of the same ethnicity. Yet only one per cent of current blood donors across the UK are black.

Local organisations can get involved with the campaign in many ways; from organising an awareness day or event, putting up posters, sharing our appeal on social media, through to making a group donation booking at the Luton Blood Donation Centre.

It’s quick and easy to register to become a blood donor. Visit www.blood.co.uk or download the app by searching ‘NHSGiveBlood’ in the app store. You can also call the Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk

The Luton blood donor centre is situated just off St George’s Square, LU1 2NF a couple of minutes from The Mall and The Galaxy. The donation itself usually only takes five to 10 minutes. In less than an hour you could save or improve the lives of up to three people.

Support the campaign on social media with #GiveBlood