Have a heart and donate for cancer patients in need

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With thousands of cancer patients receiving blood transfusions every year, NHS Blood and Transplant is challenging people to make a date to donate to mark this year’s World Cancer Day.

On February 4, people from around the world will join together to dispel the myths around cancer for World Cancer Day.

Many people who develop cancer have a need for red blood cell or platelet transfusions during their treatment. Cancer patients may develop anaemia (a reduction in the number of red blood cells in their blood) or have a reduced number of platelets in their blood (the clotting cells which prevent bleeding). This can be due to the cancer or its treatment, including chemotherapy and radiotherapy. A blood transfusion can give a patient more energy and improve the quality of their life.

John Canning NHS Blood and Transplant’s Lead Donor Relations Manager for the Horsham area, said:

“With platelets only having a shelf life of seven days and red cells having a shelf life of 35 days, patients depend on the generosity of blood and platelet donors to provide the vital transfusions they need.

“World Cancer Day is a good time to remember that blood is not only given in accident and emergency situations but also for patients undergoing surgery and receiving treatment for cancer and blood diseases. With around 7,000 units of blood needed everyday, I would encourage both new and returning donors to make a date to roll up their sleeve and donate.”

Forthcoming local blood donor sessions include:

Monday 10th February 2014

10:00 – 13:30 & 15:00 – 18:30

Majestic House,

Blatchford Road,

Horsham,

West Sussex.

RH13 5QR

Wednesday 19th February 2014

11:30 – 15:00 & 16:30 – 20:00

Majestic House,

Blatchford Road,

Horsham,

West Sussex.

RH13 5QR

Monday 24th February 2014

13:45 – 16:30 & 17:30 – 20:00

Southwater Leisure Centre,

Pevensey Road,

Southwater,

Horsham,

West Sussex.

RH13 9XZ

Tuesday 25th February 2014

10:00 – 13:30 & 15:00 – 18:30

Majestic House,

Blatchford Road,

Horsham,

West Sussex.

RH13 5QR

Once blood has been donated, it is broken down into individual components including red cells and platelets. Platelets can also be collected separately from donors using special machines at 24 centres across England.

To find out if there is a blood donation centre near you or to book an appointment at any of the above sessions, call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk

Anyone aged between 17-65, weighing more than 50 kg (7 stone 12lbs) and in general good health could potentially start saving lives by becoming a blood donor. There is no upper age limit for donors who have donated in the last two years.

Report and picture contributed by NHS Blood and Transplant.