At 17 years old I became a blood donor. I won’t lie and say I wasn’t a little nervous. I had never donated blood before, and the nurse at the time complained she couldn’t find a vein. After my session, I remember feeling like I had done something powerful. I was giving blood which could potentially help someone and save their life.
It is estimated that only 1% of England’s population that give blood is black. More people are in need to give blood from all communities and ethnic backgrounds, particularly those from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community.
What is Sickle Cell?
Sickle cell disease is a group of disorders that affects hemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells throughout the body. People with this disorder have atypical hemoglobin molecules called hemoglobin S, which can distort red blood cells into a sickle, or crescent, shape.
What is Thalassaemia:
Thalassemia is a genetic blood disorder. People with Thalassemia disease are not able to make enough hemoglobin, which causes severe anemia. Haemoglobin is found in red blood cells and carries oxygen to all parts of the body. … Beta Thalassemia Major (also called Cooley’s Anemia) is a severe illness.
Thalassaemia and Sickle Cell disease is blood conditions that most commonly affect people within the black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. The treatment of this condition is more successful using blood that is very closely matched to the patients.
Why are more BAME donors needed?
- Many patients receive frequent blood transfusions which require a much close match to their type of blood.
- Many blood conditions, such as Sickle Cell or Thalassaemia, are usually treated by blood transfusions, most commonly affected in BAME communities.
- It is also noted that the best match typically comes from blood donors from the same ethnic background.
6 Reasons Why You Should be a Blood Donor As A Black Person:
While people from all communities and backgrounds do donate blood. There was still only an estimate of less than 5% of our blood donors that gave blood, which in the last year were from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. I can imagine you can share reasons on why more people should donate blood, particularly black people, but for now, here are a few below.
You will be saving someone’s life by giving your blood.
This is true. According to GiveBloodNHS, it is estimated that 1,000 people in the UK have thalassaemia, and between 13,000-15,000 people in the UK have sickle cell disease.
Blood transfusions are in need, and if you can give blood and save a life. Why not? If you become a blood donor, you will be changing someone’s life.
Every blood donation can save or improve the lives of up to three adults or six, sometimes children.
There are different blood groups
There are different blood types, nearly more than 30 different types of blood groups. During National Blood Week in June this year the letters A, O and B had dropped significantly.
However, there are blood groups which are particularly vulnerable to shortfall such as O negative. It’s important to note that all patients can receive this blood in an emergency.
It’s for a charitable cause to give blood
Remember my little story where I gave blood at 17 years old? When I gave blood, I had a view that if I gave blood I would be making a difference.
Back then, I hated the idea of giving money to a charity. I had and still have several reasons why, but it mainly involved me not knowing where my money was going. I believed by giving blood I was genuinely making a difference.
BAME DONORS ARE NEEDED
It goes back to what I was saying earlier, BAME donors are significantly needed! Conditions such as sickle cell and thalassemia are also more likely to affect these communities with patients requiring regular blood transfusions ideally from donors from a similar ethnic background.
It’s not as difficult as it sounds
Although my first experience wasn’t the smoothest, I can honestly say after that it has been pretty straight forward. Giving blood can be quite straight forward if you want it to be. You can book an appointment online and can be in and out in less than half an hour.
Black Travel Creators are collaborating with NHSGiveBlood for Black History Month
You may already know that October is Black History Month in the UK, so Black Travel Creators have decided to work with Give Blood NHS, to encourage more black people to give blood. We already have a date set for the 27th of October. This is for 15 blood donors, were we hope to encourage more black people to come on the day and give blood.
It doesn’t stop there! We hope to also raise awareness and encourage black people all over the world to register as a blood donor. ✈?