Plea for more men to come forward and donate blood.
NORTH East men are being urged to start the new year with a simple act that could help save car crash victims and treat cancer patients. New figures have revealed that nearly 100 more women than men became New Year blood donors in 2018.
Now NHS Blood and Transplant is urging men in Newcastle to match women in making becoming a blood donor their New Year's resolution for 2019.
Figures show that last year 210 women in Tyne and Wear who registered in January became blood donors, compared to only 122 men, despite male donors being more likely to have blood that can be used for some products such as platelets and allogeneic serum drops to treat people with dry eye conditions.
Donors of every gender are welcome, and men and women can have the same blood groups. However, men's blood can contain fewer antibodies against red and white blood cells because women often make these antibodies during pregnancy.
This means male blood is often more suitable for creating blood products used to treat patients. Men also generally have higher iron levels than women, so they are less likely to be deferred from donating due to low haemoglobin.
Evie Campbell has diamond blackfan anaemia (DBA) - a rare blood disorder that means the body doesn't produce its own red cells.
The seven-year-old from Alnwick in Northumberland is treated at the Royal Victoria Infirmary for regular blood transfusions that help treat her condition. Her mum Rebecca says: "Evie's illness has been quite limiting. She carries an infusion pump around with her six days week, 24 hours a day. The infusion pumps in medication via her port-a-cath and flushes out the excess iron in her liver. Evie's iron overload is due to the build of iron from blood transfusions."
Rebecca has nothing but praise for people who take time out to give blood and help her little girl live as normal a life as possible.
She said: "I never thought about blood donation, or even knew anything about it until I was in the position where my child needed it to keep her alive.
"When you are in a situation where your child needs something so vital to help them live, it really makes you think.
"I am so grateful to everyone who has donated blood so far to Evie, it really does make a difference."
Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "It's vital that more men start donating blood because their blood is used to provide life-saving products like plasma and platelets - to save victims of burns, car crashes and treat patients with cancer.
"We're incredibly grateful to all our female donors in Newcastle who are vital in providing lifesaving blood to those in need.
"But we need men to catch up with recent recruitment because their blood can have different characteristics which can make it important in certain situations.
"It's more likely that we can use men's blood to stop bleeding after injury or surgery."
More than 200,000 new donors are needed to give blood every year across England to replace those who can no longer donate regularly due to things like ill health, foreign travel or pregnancy.
It is quick and easy to make, view and change appointments by calling 0300 123 23 23, using the GiveBlood app, or going online at www.blood.co.uk
Evie Campbell, from Alnwick, has diamond blackfan anaemia