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NHS urges more blood and organ donors during Black History Month

NHS Blood and Transplant have launched a month-long campaign - 'You're Rare, Be There' - to coincide with Black History Month

NHS Blood and Transplant are urging black people to 'Be There' by registering as donors and helping to save lives.

The call for black blood comes during Black History Month as less than 1% of active donors are from Black African, Black Caribbean, or mixed race communities.

During the month-long 'You're Rare, Be There' campaign, the NHS team is urging people across west London to become blood, organ and stem cell donors, with around 600 black people waiting for an organ transplant.

Ethnicity can often play an important part in blood transfusions, stem cell transplants and organ transplants; with conditions like sickle cell disease, a genetically inherited blood disorder, most common in the black community requiring patients to have regular blood transfusions.

Ian Trenholm, chief executive at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We really do need more black blood, organ and stem cell donors to help support black patients.

"Many people think that blood is only needed in an accident or emergency situation but people with Sickle Cell Disease often need blood transfusions on a regular basis just to stay alive.

“Blood donations can also be used before, during and after childbirth and for surgical procedures such as life saving transplants.

“In addition, if you require an organ or stem cell transplant you are far less likely to find a match if you are from black or mixed race community, simply due to the lack of black donors on the registers.

“If you’ve not thought about it before, then why not do so this Black History Month. We need a new generation of life savers from the black communities.”

Throughout October, the NHS team will be raising awareness in a bid to boost donor numbers by working with community and faith groups such as African Caribbean Leukaemia TrusT (ACLT); undetaking radio partnerships with Capital Xtra, New Style Radio, Premier Gospel and Colourful FM to promote the need for black blood donors

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