Leeds blood donor urges others to register as donations fall

A regular donor has urged others in Leeds to sign up to give blood and platelets after seeing the vital role it plays in helping cancer patients.

By Jasmine Huang
Sunday, 4th July 2021, 11:45 am

The number of new blood donors registering in Yorkshire and the Humber fell from 43,734 in 2019 to 35,764 last year, according to NHS statistics.

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It mirrored a fall in the number of blood donations being made, with the figure dropping from 16, 069 in 2019 to 13,634 in 2020 as the pandemic and lockdowns caused disruption.

The number of new blood donors registering in the region fell last year. Picture: Jake Oakley

Deivi Das, a donor in Leeds has continued to attending donation sessions whenever he can.

"I’ve decided to donate blood as I work within a clinical trials unit with cancer patients," he said. "I know that blood and platelets donations are vital for their prolonged survival."

Being able to help someone else in need also spurred on Paul, a Wakefield blood donor who donates every three months.

"I donate blood because it’s the easiest way to directly help the NHS and someone who needs medical help," he said.

On the decline in donations in the region, Deivi added: "I think advertisement of real people donating and their testimony would be helpful. That’s why I share my stories on social media - so my friends see it."

Although the pandemic has caused disruption, donation centres across the country are still operating.

John Gallagher, a blood donor in Leeds, said: "The donation centre staff are brilliant, the website and phone line are simple to use and helpful, and I love that I get a text a few weeks after donating to tell me where my donation has been sent."

Paul, who donated blood at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, said: "The service is great there, free drink and snack at the end. They are always running late but it's hard to dictate how quickly blood will come out of someone's arm with limited space."

Last month, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) marked World Blood Donor Day by highlighting changes to blood donation rules that mean it is now possible for more men who have sex with men to donate blood, platelets, and plasma.

Now any donors, regardless of gender, will be asked about their recent sexual activity. Anyone who has had the same sexual partner for the last three months will be eligible

to donate.