Hello, and welcome to the winter 2017 edition of The Donor magazine.
At this time of year we take stock of where we are and how we got here – the highs and the lows, the successes and the challenges. I am really pleased to be able to tell you that our blood stocks remain healthy and they have been consistently good throughout the year. This is against a backdrop of some considerable change, so now more than ever I would like to thank each and every one of you for your unwavering commitment to blood donation.
Demand for blood continues to drop and has done for the past few years. However, although we need fewer donations overall, demand for certain blood types is growing, including the rare sub-type Ro.
In this edition you can read about the urgent need to recruit 40,000 new black blood donors due to the increasing demand for Ro blood by sickle cell patients.
This year we’ve made staggering progress on the research and development front. Results from the INTERVAL study have shown that some blood donors can give more often, and we are making strides towards producing bespoke lab-made platelets that can be tailored for the individual. You can also read about how donating blood is just what the doctor ordered, as it helps with the treatment of some patients with genetic haemochromatosis.
We have been working in partnership with the Fire Service for some time now, and this year we have built on this as Shadwell Fire Station recently opened its doors to donors, with a fantastic response. We hope to develop this work and are also looking to increase the number of free venues that can host sessions for us.
In the New Year you may notice some further changes to the way that you give blood – you’ll have the same person with you throughout most of your visit. We’re also amending the Donor Health Check to reflect the scientific review completed this year, offering more people the opportunity to donate.
Also in this edition you can read about Chelsea Pensioner, John Wiseman, as he dons his scarlet uniform to donate for the 90th time. We also hear from Laura, whose double cornea transplant means she can now see the face of her son, Noah.
We’d also like to congratulate two of our donors, Victoria and Joshua Dear, who married this summer after meeting while donating in St Ives.
As we head into winter I’d like to ask you to remember to book your next appointment. We typically see a dip in blood stocks around Christmas and New Year as time is taken up with the festivities.
Thank you for being a loyal and committed donor.
I wish you health and happiness for 2018.
Ian Trenholm, Chief Executive
Write and tell us your news, views and interesting or unusual donor stories by emailing email@example.com