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Donating blood or organs are the most important things you can do to make a difference to someone else’s life, according to new research which ranks altruistic acts.
A survey of 2,189 adults in England placed blood and organ donation top in a poll of ways that people felt they could make a real difference to other people’s lives.
As most New Year resolutions are starting to fade by mid-January, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) are urging people not to ditch their New Year resolution but instead switch and make a pledge to register as a blood or organ donor.
In the survey carried out in December 2021 respondents were asked: ‘When it comes to making a real difference in people’s lives, which of these do you think are the most important things that someone could do?’
Donating organs or giving blood came out as the two most important steps that people can take.
Other ways people were asked to list in terms of importance included giving to charity, donating to food banks or doing voluntary work.
Respondents said the biggest motivation for giving blood or donating organs was that they could help save or improve someone else’s life.
Other reasons were to help the NHS, that donation is the ‘right thing to do’ and that it ‘feels good’ to do something for others.
One organ donor can save or transform up to nine lives after their death through organ donation and save and transform even more by donating tissue.
In 2020 – 2021, across the UK, 3,391 people had their lives saved thanks to the generosity of 1,180 people who donated their organs after death.
Even though organ donation has moved to an opt out system across England, Scotland and Wales, families will still always be consulted before donation goes ahead.
This means it is still just as important as ever to let your family know what you want to happen – we urge people to speak with your family to share your decision as well as record it on the NHS Organ Donor Register.
In 2021 132,172 new blood donors made their first step in making a difference and registered to give blood. NHSBT needs around 450 donors a day to meet demand.
Blood is needed to help the NHS provide life-saving transfusions to people with blood disorders, as well as for use in trauma emergencies, childbirth, during surgery, and in cancer treatments.
On average around 1.4 million units of blood are issued to hospitals each year.
Blood donation is safe, easy and takes just one hour. Each donation can save or improve up to three lives. People can also donate plasma and platelets at some centres.
Helen Duggan, Assistant Director of Marketing and Creative Services at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “New Year is a time when lots of people make resolutions to make a change for the better, but many of these resolutions don’t last longer than a few days or weeks and many people feel disheartened when they fail.
“Instead, we want to highlight the simple ways that people can feel good by making a positive change and help to save lives – by donating blood or by having a conversation with their loved ones about their organ donation decision and registering as an organ donor.
“We’re heartened to see the results of this survey which shows altruistic giving is still a top priority for people and as we begin a new year we hope that feeling of giving will continue to shape our communities.”
You can save three lives in just one hour by donating blood. You can register today and book an appointment online, by calling 0300 123 23 23, or by downloading the NHS Give Blood app.
Find out about organ donation, and register your organ donation decision online or call 0300 123 23 23. Users of the NHS app can also use this to check, update or register their decision.