Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Supply That Saves Lives

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Supply That Saves Lives

Article excerpt

Byline: By Louise Redvers

New laws have been brought in to stop people who have had blood transfusions since 1980 from giving blood.

The rules have been introduced to curb the risk of spreading CJD, the human form of mad cow disease, after a man died last year following a transfusion.

But although the precautions have been welcomed by National Blood Service, it is worried about the effect it will have on its already shrinking number of donors.

Some estimates reckon that the new legislation will exclude more than 3% of the UK's 1.7m current donors, that's more than 5,000 people.

In the Newcastle area alone, 800 donations are needed every week and the National Blood Service is urging people to do their bit by becoming donors.

Laura Summers of the National Blood Service in the North East said: "We are appealing for new donors, and those who haven't given for a while, to spare just an hour of their time to give blood.

"We can no longer take donations from people who have received a blood transfusion themselves, and while we thank these donors for their support over the years, it is vital that more donors come forward to support local hospitals and help keep blood stocks healthy."

Bank holidays also put extra pressure on blood stocks, Laura explained.

"Certain blood components called platelets, which are used to help patients who are bleeding or those with a low platelet count, such as leukaemia patients, last only five days," she said.

Sally Brewis knows only too well how important good supplies of blood are.

The 32-year-old, of Morpeth, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukaemia eight years ago and spent five months in hospital having chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

During her lengthy treatment time and bone marrow operations, she was given more than 250 units of blood and plasma.

"Basically, I wouldn't be alive today without that blood," Sally said.

Now back to full health and employment as a graduate recruitment adviser for a Newcastle-based firm of solicitors, Sally urged people to become blood donors. …

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