Welcome to the summer 2012 issue of The Donor magazine.
The heavy snow and ice from earlier in the year seems far away now that we're well into our summer season. Thank you all for your amazing commitment during that time of dreadful weather that made it so difficult for us all to get around. It is due to your dedication that we were able to maintain the vital supply of lifesaving blood to hospitals. Thank you.
During the summer, our stock of blood tends to fall as donors set off on holiday. This year, with the successful Queen's Diamond Jubilee just behind us, and as we enjoy watching a number of large sporting events including the London 2012 Olympics, we know that it is easy for our donors to be distracted from their usual routines. In addition, some donors are unable to donate for some time following holidays overseas because of the particular destinations they have visited.
We have been preparing for all of these eventualities - I'm sure you have seen our campaigns over the last few months to encourage more donors to come forward - but we cannot do it without you, our regular donors.
Why not book an appointment and donate now before you go on holiday? If you have missed an appointment due to holidays or changes in routine, then you can call the Donor Helpline on 0300 123 23 23 and make another appointment. Let's continue to save lives together.
I wish you all a fantastic time during this very memorable summer of 2012.
If you have travelled to a country affected by West Nile Virus (WNV) you can now give blood immediately on your return, thanks to the introduction of a new test. Previously, donors had to wait 28 days after their return before they could donate.
The risk period for WNV is between 1st May and 30th November and affects travellers returning from USA, Canada, Italy, mainland Greece, Romania, Macedonia, Turkey, Albania, Israel and some areas of Russia.
The test will be carried out during the risk period on donations when less than 4 weeks have passed since the donor's return from an affected area. If you have been unwell or diagnosed with WNV since your return, please call us on 0300 123 23 23.
Cambridge now has over 100 much-needed new platelet donors, thanks to a campaign to sign up new donors in the area.
Demand for platelets is rising, so a target to recruit 100 new donors was set and a campaign launched at our Cambridge centre, back in December.
With the help of local media coverage, almost 400 volunteers came forward and 114 of those volunteers have now successfully become platelet donors.
Mary Townsend who relies on platelets to help treat her illness, attended our launch. She says,” Last year, out of the blue I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, and within a week was put on a course of treatment. I received over 20 units of blood and eight platelet transfusions. It’s easy to assume that blood and platelets are only given to people in emergency situations, in surgery or who are anaemic, but in fact mostly they are given to cancer patients. I never knew that I’d need platelets, but because of other people’s generosity, I am alive and well today.”
People who signed up as blood donors at Preston’s St George’s Shopping Centre are unlikely to forget the event in a hurry. As soon as people registered to donate at our stand, 50 strategically placed flashmob “clappers” sprang into action, peeled off their coats to reveal bright red ‘Give Blood’ T-shirts and gave the new donors an enthusiastic and very public round of applause.
Our spokesperson Barbara Blanche says, “We used the surprise round of applause to say a very public ‘thank you’ to those signing up as donors in the hope that people watching would be inspired to follow their example.”
A video of the event was added to YouTube and has been viewed thousands of times.
Male blood donors can now give four times in a 12-month period, as long as they wait 12 weeks between donations. This means potentially 100,000 extra units of blood can be donated by men every year.
Women can still only donate every 16 weeks, which works out as three times in a 12 month period, as they have lower levels of stored iron than men.
Members of the Defence Medical Services Training Group (DMSTG) flashed their red Give Blood armbands as they competed for the Brickwoods Trophy at the annual Field Gun competition. The event was hosted by HMS Collingwood in Fareham and involved 22 crews from the armed forces .
The competition involves strength, stamina and teamwork – and manhandling several tonnes of heavy artillery. NHSBT didn’t tackle the course, but we were there on the day to encourage new donors. We were also busy before hand, spreading the donation message and signing up new donors.