Wolverhampton woman backs call for platelet donors

New donors needed in Birmingham to help cancer patients.

NHS Blood and Transplant needs more than 300 new platelet donors at their donor centre in Birmingham. Platelets are blood cells that are crucial for patients with blood cancers such as leukaemia, and a range of illnesses and accidents.

Birmingham’s blood stock holding unit issued 27,000 units of platelets last year to hospitals around the West Midlands County and NHS Blood and Transplant need more new donors, particularly group A blood type, to help keep up with demand. More than half the platelets issued go to patients with blood cancer and NHS Blood and Transplant is making the appeal to mark the end of Blood Cancer Awareness Month in September.

Natalie White, aged 30, from Wednesfield, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in 2016, weeks before she was due to get married. Natalie, a biomedical scientist and an ambassador for Bloodwise, said: “I would not be alive today without the blood and platelets I received.

“Within just six months of my treatment starting, I received 43 units of blood products – 19 units of red blood cells, 14 units of platelets and 10 units of granulocytes. The platelets would stop my nose bleeds but also help me to worry less about bleeding and the symptoms of bleeding which I had noticed on my skin and in my eyes.

“I would encourage anyone thinking about donating to do it. My husband often receives text messages from NHS Blood and Transplant informing him of where his blood has been sent too, this makes him feel warm and proud. To the people who already donate blood, thank you – you are life savers. Platelet donation takes longer than blood donation but you can do it more often, making platelet donors a committed and select type of donor.”

The local platelet donation centre is at Birmingham Blood Donor Centre, 65 New St, Birmingham, B2 4DU. NHS Blood and Transplant particularly needs A negative donors because their platelets can be given safely to any patient.

Abi Howse, Patient Information Manager at blood cancer charity Bloodwise, said: “Platelets are important cells that help your blood to clot and prevent bleeding. But leukaemia and other blood cancers, and cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, can cause the number of platelets in your blood to reduce.

“This puts people with cancer at risk of serious bleeding, and is why many people need platelet transfusions. By donating platelets at Birmingham donor centre, you can help people with cancer through their treatment and save lives locally and around the country.”

Lynne Moulder, NHS Blood and Transplant’s National Component Donation Marketing Manager, said: “One platelet donation can help up to twelve children. Platelet donation takes longer than blood donation and our platelet donors are committed and special people. “We use machines that filter the platelets from your circulating blood. It takes just under two hours and many people use it as a chance to relax and read. You can donate platelets more often than you can donate blood.

“Platelets don’t just save the lives of people with blood cancers. They help patients suffering any kind of major blood loss, for example someone having a transplant or cardiac surgery. Please start donating platelets in Birmingham.”

To register your interest in giving platelets speak to donor centre staff at your next donation of visit www.platelets.blood.co.uk