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Black History Month

Join us this Black History Month as we encourage more people of Black heritage to sign up and give blood.

Your NHS needs you! Register to donate now

Ethnically matched blood saves lives

Sickle cell disease, which is most common in people of Black heritage, is the most widespread and fastest growing genetic disorder in the UK.

Many patients with sickle cell rely on blood transfusions to stay alive.

To get the best treatment, patients need blood which is closely matched and this is most likely to come from a donor of the same ethnicity.

Why ethnicity matters

Be a blood donor hero

Join a community of heroes who are waiting in the wings to save lives.

We're particularly looking for donors in BirminghamManchester and London.

Kehinde, father to eight-year-old sickle cell patient Angel

"My daughter is alive today because of the kindness of Black blood donors. It’s as simple as that."

It's safe

We've put a number of extra safety measures in place to ensure your safety at this time. 

Your ethnicity could save a life

Your donation could save the life of someone of a similar heritage, particularly if you have a rare blood type.


Become a blood donor

Register now

First time donor?

Read our Buzzfeed post about what happens when you give blood

Hint: the snacks are worth it!

The need for Black blood donors

Black pioneers of healthcare

This Black History Month we'll be celebrating the contributions and achievements of Black people within blood science and healthcare. 

This week: Dr. Marilyn Hughes Gaston

Marilyn Gaston
Dr. Marilyn Gaston: courtesy of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

Dr. Gaston was born into a poor American family who were unable to afford health insurance, and was inspired to become a doctor after seeing her mother - who had cancer - faint due to lack of medical attention. 

She faced racial prejudice as a young medical student, but was determined to pursue her dream. 

Developing a special interest in sickle cell, in 1986 she led a groundbreaking study on the disease. 

In 1990, Dr. Gaston became the first African American woman to direct a Public Health Service Bureau.

Still to come

Week 4: Kofoworola Abeni Pratt

One of the first black nurses to work in the NHS.

Previous weeks

Week 1: Charles R. Drew

Developed large-scale blood banks during World War Two.

Week 2: Professor Dame Anionwu

The UK's first sickle-cell and thalassaemia nurse specialist.

Other ways to get involved

There are lots of ways to raise awareness about the need for more Black blood donors and bring hope to those in need this Black History Month.

Keep checking back, as we'll be adding details of more activities and opportunities as the month goes on.

If you're unable to donate blood yourself, there are still ways you can be a hero!

Listen to the Seasoned Sessions podcast

Seasoned is a BuzzFeed channel dedicated to covering Black British culture, and Seasoned Sessions is a podcast in which two of Seasoned’s producers – Hanifah and Ada –chat about the news of the week.

Episode 14 sees Hanifah and Ada joined by Mary Adeturinmo, an NHS BAME & sickle cell ambassador, who shares what life with the disease is like. Other topics covered include the Royal Mail’s contribution to Black History Month, Yara Shahidi, and the body positivity movement.

On social media

Join our Facebook Live events

Join our hosts Calvin Campbell and Davina Caballlero on Facebook Live this Black History Month as they look to raise awareness of the need for ethnically matched blood and the need for more Black donors.

Meet the hosts

Calvin Campbell

Calvin Campbell

Calvin has sickle cell SS and is a campaigner for NHS Blood and Transplant, responsible for recruiting new blood donors and particularly those from the Black community. He is a proud grandfather and member of the B Positive Choir, who performed for Her Majesty The Queen as part of Britain’s Got Talent in 2018.

Davinia CaballeroDavinia Caballero

Davinia is founder of Healthy Afro, an organisation promoting a healthy lifestyle within the Black community. Davinia has sickle cell and has lived through further life-threatening complications, receiving a kidney from her brother in 2017. Sadly, the transplant has since failed, and Davinia is currently on dialysis. She continues to run her online business whilst studying to become a health consultant. She is also a founding member of the B Positive Choir.

21st October at 6pm

Health inequalities and unconscious bias

We'll be exploring how heath inequalities such as sickle cell affect a particular demographic and how that feeds into an unconscious bias and attitudes towards blood and organ donation.

Follow us at @givebloodnhs


Stephanie GeorgeStephanie George

Stephanie is a midwife within the NHS and also has sickle cell anaemia.


Jennifer GeorgeJennifer George

Jennifer, sister of Stephanie, is a fashion Graduate from Southampton Solent university and also has sickle cell SS. 

28th October at 6pm

Why ethnicity matters

We'll be looking at how better matched blood and organ donations provide better outcomes for Black patients.

Follow us at @givebloodnhs


Tunde AkintolaTunde Akintola

London-based Tunde works as an economic and business environment researcher. He too has sickle cell, and is an ardent football fan supporting both England and Nigeria.

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