The family of a young cancer patient have given thanks for the “precious gift” of vital blood donations he received.
Joseph Mayman and his mum Sarah are backing a new drive calling for people to donate blood and help others like the four-year-old.
NHS Blood and Transplant needs 22,800 donors in Yorkshire over the festive period to ensure hospitals have the stocks they need to treat patients.
It launched its latest Christmas campaign in Leeds city centre, with Joseph and his mum along with regular donor Caroline Hanson.
Donna Batty, lead donor relations manager at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “At a time when everyone is thinking about the perfect gift for their loved ones, some people will be relying on one gift that really matters – the gift of blood.
“We’re asking new and regular donors in Leeds to give blood this December. The gift of a single blood donation can save or improve up to three lives. Don’t worry if you’ve never given blood before – now is a great time to sign up and start giving to help save lives this Christmas and beyond.”
Joseph, from Horsforth, Leeds, has undergone so many transfusions that his family have lost count.
He was diagnosed with the aggressive cancer neuroblastoma in October 2012 and underwent 14 months of treatment, including high dose chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant.
Throughout he needed many transfusions of either red blood cells or platelets because his body couldn’t make blood cells quickly enough.
His mum Sarah said: “Each time, I thinks about the kindness of the donor and what a precious gift they have given my son and my whole family.”
As Christmas Day and Boxing Day fall ahead of a weekend this year, bosses at NHS Blood and Transplant are concerned that fewer donors than usual will get around to making lifesaving donations.
They added that in winter, there was also a particular need for supplies of rarer blood groups – O Rh negative, the universal blood group, is always in demand and A Rh negative, B Rh negative and AB Rh negative are the other rare groups most vulnerable to shortfall.
Blood has a shelf life of 35 days and platelets have a shelf life of seven days, so stocks need to be continually maintained throughout the year.
To book an appointment, or to find your nearest session, visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 2323. The NHSGiveBlood app is available for Windows, Android and Apple devices.