FEARS have been raised that next year’s bumper sporting calendar and extra bank holidays will hit Sunderland’s life-saving blood banks.
Research shows that 93 per cent of people give blood during the working week and when there are major sporting events or a string of bank holidays levels drop.
The bumper bank holidays around Easter and the royal wedding week led to 3,500 fewer donations across the country.
Last year, one day saw a 12 per cent drop due to the warm weather, the World Cup quarter-final and Andy Murray’s Wimbledon semi- final.
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Darren Bowen, NHSBT lead donor relations manager for the North East, said: “Next year is going to be an exciting year for the UK but we’re concerned that the cluster of major events could dramatically impact on the number of blood donations coming in.
“Approximately two million units of blood will be needed by hospital throughout 2012 and the equivalent of 500 extra donations will be needed each week in the first six months to help us build blood stocks and cover extra potential need from Olympic visitors.
“We’re calling on the public to make regular blood donation a New Year’s resolution.”
A significant drop in donations could have a massive impact on the thousands of people in England who require blood.
Blood products are not just for road traffic accidents, they are used to treat people with cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, sickle cell disease, for new mums and babies, and during surgery.
A spokesman for City Hospitals Sunderland said: “There is a constant need for people to donate blood.
“Hospital services rely on donors and a regular supply of blood to treat patients and save lives.
“We would urge members of the public, if they do not already do so, to consider becoming a donor and encourage their families and friends to do so – at this time it would be a real gift of life.”
To register and find out where your nearest blood donor session is, phone 0300 123 23 23 or visit the blood service website www.blood.co.uk.
EARLIER this year the Echo launched its Chloe’s Call-Up campaign, urging people to save a life by giving blood.
Chloe Gray, who suffers from Diamond Blackfan Anaemia, a blood abnormality that causes a low red blood cell count, needs a lifesaving blood transplant once a month.
The 17-month-old’s mum Francesca, of Plains Farm, said: “It doesn’t take that long to go out and give blood.
“There are a lot of places in Sunderland where you can go, so I really hope people take the time.”
A host of celebrities are also backing the call for donors.
Singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor said: “I gave blood for the first time this year and plan on becoming a regular donor. Why don’t you join me and make it your New Year’s resolution to give blood regularly?
“It’s free, you’ll save lives, and it’s a resolution you’ll actually want to keep.”