Appeal for young blood donors

Blood Doning at North Bridge Leisure Centre, Halifax. Jordan Mitchell with donor Lucy Rape.
Blood Doning at North Bridge Leisure Centre, Halifax. Jordan Mitchell with donor Lucy Rape.

Young people across Calderdale are being encouraged to give blood at a time where 7,000 units are required each day, in order to meet hospital demand.

Recent donor sessions, held at the Northbridge Leisure Centre in Halifax, have been focusing on the younger generations in a bid to ensure a regular supply for years to come.

Considering that only four per cent of the population donate, it is vital for people in Calderdale to offer their time, every 12 or 16 weeks considering the donor’s gender, in order to save peoples lives.

Young people can offer their services from the age of just 17, going on to hopefully secure up to 100 donations, said lead donor relations manager, Donna Batty.

“We come to Halifax quite often - at least every other week - and the sessions are so busy,” she said. “It is a really popular session but obviously we really need donors.

Encourage

“Every year we need to recruit about 2,000 donors, we try and encourage those people to be advocates.

“I think it’s the sort of thing that people don’t think about. We need 7,000 units every day. I think people think it’s always there but it would not if people didn’t donate. The actual donation only takes ten minutes - once you start donating you get in the habit of doing it.

“We’ve got donors who’ve given 75, 100 times.”

Donna stressed the importance of attracting the younger generations to give blood.

She said: “We’re particularly targeting young donors. There’s no difference in terms of blood but we want to ensure steady supply for the future.

“We do a lot of sessions from sixth forms and universities. Unfortunately we lose them so it’s trying to get people to do it regularly.”

Twenty-year-old Adam Kenny was donating blood for a seventh time at a recent session held at Northbridge - and said it was something he did for a reason particularly close to his heart.

Adam, who lives in Pellon, said: “My mum had cancer and she needed about 16 units. Sadly she passed away at Christmas so it’s just something I keep on doing. It helped my mum for three years so even if it could help someone for even half that amount of time or even if it’s just for research it’s worth doing.”

Adam added that his siblings had also got on board. One of his brother’s has donated ten times and he hopes his little sister will begin her journey as a blood donor soon.

Adam said: “My sister has just turned 17 so she’ll be coming down as well and I’ve got a few mates coming down as well.

“If you don’t need it you might as well give it.”

Another young person at the Northbridge session was 19-year-old Lucy Rape, donating for the second time.

Lucy, a hairdresser from Queensbury, said: “If you can do it you might as well. It’s only one pint it just doesn’t seem like a big thing.”

There has been a 23 per cent drop in active donors over the last decade, and young Lucy is attempting to change that trend.

“I’m trying to get people from work to do it,” she said. “It’s not a lot to do really - they just see you for ten minutes - and then it’s fine, you can go.”