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More young people urged to give blood.

Byline: By Abbie Wightwick Western Mail

More blood donors are urgently needed in Wales, the Welsh Blood Service has warned.

World Blood Donor Day is being held this week and to mark the day an appeal for more people to give blood in Wales is being made.

The Welsh Blood Service will unite with other global Healthcare Organisations to celebrate World Blood Donor Day this Thursday. WBDD is celebrated on the birthday of Karl Landsteiner, the Nobel prizewinner who discovered the ABO blood group system.

The event recognises the unpaid gift of donors who help save the lives of millions of people across the world.

Yesterday the Welsh Blood Service said it was finding it difficult to encourage young people, especially young male donors, to give blood.

"Our current data base reveals a shortfall in numbers of donor in the age range of 17 to 24 years old," a spokesperson said.

"It is vital we act now and let young people know how important they are to us, in order to secure the future blood supply.

"With more young people supporting us, we can continue to save more lives and ensure that our hospitals will always be supplied with whatever blood and blood products they might need."

Trudi Evans, recruitment manager at the WBS, said, "Young people are fit and healthy and it is not that they don't care, we just don't seem to connect with them, particularly young males. We know from our research older men donate blood more regularly; this may be due to them being more responsible.

"We appeal to young people to become blood donors and feel proud to be a part of an amazing group of people who render a unique service to patients in our communities.

"With their support we know that thousands more lives will be saved."

The service said that regular donors tended to be the best recruiters of new donors and personal communication was one of the most effective means of spreading the word.

It is therefore asking current donors to bring along a friend when they next give blood.

The service said people should not be afraid, although it realised this was an issue which put some people off. Their spokesperson said, "It is easy to say 'I don't like needles' but for a few minutes you will be saving someone's life."

Those who fear they won't have enough time are being reminded that just three times a year is the maximum people can donate. This takes a maximum of three hours.

"Someone somewhere will be so grateful for you sparing that time to save their life," the spokesperson said. Text help from 118: The Welsh Blood Service needs to supply the 16 hospitals in South, West and Mid Wales with a remarkable 600 units of blood everyday.

The balancing act of keeping blood-stocks healthy is constant. At any time, if a hospital requires extra blood the service must be able to respond.

"It is difficult times when the demand for blood is high and our stocks are very low," said a spokesman.

During one such appeal Neil Mansfield from 118 contacted the Welsh Blood Service and offered to help by adding a special life- saving message to the bottom of the text, when 118 customers requested a phone number.

118 have now agreed to include this life-saving message during low blood stocks, with no charge to the Welsh Blood Service.

On June 14, World Blood Donor Day, 118 will be sending out the message:

IT'S WORLD BLOOD DONOR DAY

GIVE BLOOD

0800 252266

Trudi Evans, recruitment manager at the Welsh Blood Service said, "We are delighted with the support from 118.

"To be able to contact members of the public at times when we are in desperate need for blood is absolutely amazing. We can't thank the senior team enough at 118 for their wonderful support. This really will make a difference."

Neil Mansfield, product manager at 118, said, "We are pleased to be supporting a life-saving organisation and hope that this message will encourage more people to come forward and donate blood."
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 11, 2007
Words:684
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