Eastenders and Dr Who actor makes surprising discovery after donating blood

24 August 2016

Eastenders and Dr Who star Joivan Wade gave blood and found out that his blood makes him a very valuable donor.

Extended tests revealed the 23-year-old, who currently stars at Jordan Johnson on Eastenders, has a combination of blood groups that make his blood excellent for transfusing trauma victims and people with rare blood disorders.

Joivan gave blood at the West End Donor Centre in London to support an NHS appeal for new donors, especially black donors.

NHS Blood and Transplant carried out extended tests which revealed he is O negative – the universal donor blood group – and also negative for sickle cell, and negative for a series of other blood group antigens.

Joivan felt a responsibility to donate for the first time after his work with the charity ACLT made him aware of the need for more black donors.

Bev Hirst, Lead Specialist in Blood Testing for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Joivan is O negative, K-, Fya-, M-, S-, and is negative for sickle cell trait.

“Because of all the negative antigens he carries, he can be used for difficult patients who have produced antibodies to transfusions they have had in the past. He would be ideal to be used for a patient who is multiply transfused such as a patient with the genetic blood disorder sickle cell. Sickle cell patients can sometimes have full exchanges of 8-10 units of blood.

“The fact Joivan is O negative, K negative also means his donations can be used in a dire emergency where there is no time to get a patient's blood type and transfusion needs to happen immediately.”

Joivan, who played Rigsy in Series 8 and Series 9 of Doctor Who, and appeared in the BBC comedy Big School, and is one-third of the hugely popular online comedy Mandem on the Wall.

He also co-created the Facebook and YouTube hit Wall Of Comedy, which has more than two million likes.

Joivan said: “We only have a small percentage of blood donors who are black.

“And I put myself in the position of ‘If I needed blood, what would I want?’ I would want people to come forward and donate blood for me.

“I felt amazing about donating for the first time. I felt a bit apprehensive beforehand, as you would, but it was so simple and I genuinely feel a sense of achievement.

“To know my blood is specifically useful for patients who are multiply transfused such as with sickle diseased patients is great. I know a lot of black people suffer from sickle cell, and by giving my blood I’m now able to help and impact our community. The reward is saving someone’s life, and that’s priceless!”

NHS Blood and Transplant is currently running the Missing Type appeal for new donors, especially black donors.

Around 3.5% of the population in England is black African or black Caribbean, but last year only 0.64% of donors were from black communities.

People from a similar ethnic background are more likely to have more closely matched blood, which patients need for the best possible outcome.

Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “It’s vital the blood donor community reflects the diversity of the population.

“One day it could be you, or someone you love, in need of donated blood.”

You can watch a video of Joivan donating here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlHm_hutpNY&feature=youtu.be

  • To sign up as a new donor, visit: www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.
  • Support the campaign on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram #MissingType.



  • For additional information please contact the NHS Blood and Transplant press office on 01923 367600 or via pressoffice@nhsbt.nhs.uk
  • For out of hours enquiries please call: 0117 969 2444


Notes to editors

  • NHS Blood and Transplant is responsible for ensuring a safe and efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS in England. We are also the organ donation organisation for the UK and are responsible for matching and allocating donated organs.
  • We are an essential part of the NHS and take pride in saving and improving lives by making the most of every voluntary donation, from blood and organs to tissues and stem cells.
  • Our work would not be possible without our donors - ordinary people doing extraordinary things by saving and improving the lives of others.
  • To find out more visit: www.nhsbt.nhs.uk
  • e/cancel their appointments and change their contact details in real time at www.blood.co.uk
  • There are apps available for Android, Windows and Apple Smartphone and tablet devices which enable donors to search for sessions based on their location and book and manage appointments.
  • Our donor line - 0300 123 23 -is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with all calls charged at the standard local rate, even from mobile phones
  • NHS Blood and Transplant needs to collect 1.6 million units of blood each year to meet the needs of patients across England. It’s important that we collect the right amount of each blood group at the right time to meet patient needs. 
  • There are four main blood groups – O, A, B and AB. Group O is the most common and therefore the most in demand. A regular supply of blood is vital – red cells last 35 days and platelets only 7 days
  • The overall demand for blood is falling by 3-4% per year.  This is due to improvements in clinical practice and is a trend that is being seen around the world. The drop in demand for blood is also thanks to our work with hospitals to ensure blood is used appropriately for patients.
  • We need just under 200,000 new blood donors each year to replace those who no longer donate for reasons such as ill health, pregnancy or foreign travel and to ensure we have the right mix of blood groups to match patient needs in the future
  • Some blood groups, such as O negative (the universal blood group); a negative and B negative are particularly vulnerable to shortfalls. So we want people with those blood groups to donate as regularly as they can.  We also need more black African, black Caribbean, mixed race and South Asian people to become blood donors to reflect the ethnic diversity of patients

Female whole blood donors can give blood every 16 weeks, while male blood donors must wait 12 weeks between donations. Platelets can be donated every 2 weeks.