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New platelet donors needed in London to help cancer patients

25 September 2018

NHS Blood and Transplant needs more than 500 new platelet donors at our donor centres in London, in Edgware, Tooting and the West End.

Platelets are blood cells that are crucial for patients with blood cancers such as leukaemia, and a range of illnesses and accidents.

London uses 77,000 units of platelets a year and NHS Blood and Transplant need more new donors, particularly group A blood type, to help keep up with demand.

More than half the platelets issued go to patients with blood cancer and NHS Blood and Transplant is making the appeal to mark the end of Blood Cancer Awareness Month in September.

Olga Iturri-Tyler, 22, from Kentish Town, received more than 100 units of red blood cells and plasma after being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in April 2017.

Olga stands in front of her boyfriend who is holding a glass of wineOlga’s cancer is now remission and she has maintenance chemotherapy once a week. She is just about to start her third year studying History and Politics at Oxford University, after a missing a term of her second year due to treatment.

She said: “Donating blood and platelets is amazing – a really beautiful thing to do. I feel so much gratitude to everyone who donates.

“My family have been really involved in donating and my boyfriend organised a blood donation drive at Tooting Donor Centre.

“I felt like I had so much more energy when I had a blood transfusion and the platelets helped stop the internal bleeding.”

Platelet donation takes longer than blood donation but you can do it more often, making platelet donors a committed and select type of donor.

The London platelet donation centres are:

NHS Blood and Transplant particularly needs A negative donors because their platelets can be given safely to any patient.

Abi Howse, Patient Information Manager at blood cancer charity Bloodwise, said: “Platelets are important cells that help your blood to clot and prevent bleeding.

“But leukaemia and other blood cancers, and cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, can cause the number of platelets in your blood to reduce.

“This puts people with cancer at risk of serious bleeding, and is why many people need platelet transfusions.

“By donating platelets at London’s donor centres, you can help people with cancer through their treatment and save lives locally and around the country.”

A person in a laboratory holds a bag of plateletsLynne Moulder, NHS Blood and Transplant’s National Component Donation Marketing Manager, said: “One platelet donation can help up to twelve children.

“Platelet donation takes longer than blood donation and our platelet donors are committed and special people.

“We use machines that filter the platelets from your circulating blood. It takes just under two hours and many people use it as a chance to relax and read. You can donate platelets more often than you can donate blood.

“Platelets don’t just save the lives of people with blood cancers. They help patients suffering any kind of major blood loss, for example someone having a transplant or cardiac surgery. Please start donating platelets in London.”

  • To register your interest in giving platelets speak to donor centre staff at your next donation of please visit platelets.blood.co.uk

Ends

  • For additional information please contact the NHS Blood and Transplant press office on 01923 367 600 or email pressoffice@nhsbt.nhs.uk
  • For urgent out of hours enquiries please call: 0117 969 2444

Notes to editors

  • NHS Blood and Transplant is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. We provide the blood donation service for England and the organ donation service for the UK. We also provide donated tissues, stem cells and cord blood. We are an essential part of the NHS, saving and improving lives through public donation.
  • It is quick and easy to book an appointment to give blood. Call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk
  • NHS Blood and Transplant needs to collect 1.4 million units of blood each year to meet the needs of patients across England.
  • There are four main blood groups – O, A, B and AB. O negative (the universal blood group) and B negative are particularly vulnerable to shortfalls. So, we want people with those blood groups to donate as regularly as they can.
  • The overall demand for blood is falling by 3-4% per year due to improvements in clinical practice and our work with hospitals to ensure blood is used appropriately for patients.
  • We need around 210,000 new blood donors each year to replace those who stop donating and to ensure we have the right mix of blood groups to match patient needs in the future.
  • We urgently need 40,000 more black donors as they are more likely to have the blood type needed to treat the increasing number of patients suffering from sickle cell disease.

 

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