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02 December 2013

Call for people to give blood over Christmas season.

Call for people to give blood over Christmas season.

While the nation writes their Christmas lists there are many people whose must-have gift is something far more vital than the latest gadget or toy – it's blood.

Fleshandblood, a partnership between Kore and NHS Blood and Transplant to mobilise the Church to increase the number of blood and organ donors in the UK, is calling for people to step forward and donate blood so patients whose lives depend on blood or platelet transfusions get what they need over the festive period.

Hospitals in England and North Wales will need up to half a million units of blood to see them through the Christmas period. However the busyness of the Christmas season means blood donors often forget to donate, which puts pressure on blood stocks.

A new radio advert, on-line campaign and short YouTube film is set to remind the public why they should give the ultimate gift.

Five year-old Alexis Wallace, a patient at the Evelina London Children's Hospital, was diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia with a high stroke risk at just three months old and needs blood transfusions every four weeks to prevent her from having a stroke. She appeals to people: "All my friends want the latest doll or video game, and although I do too, what I really need is blood," she says.

Alexis' mum, Clare, says: "You wouldn't forget to get your kids or members of your family a present so please don't forget to donate blood – you never know when someone you love might need it."

Fleshandblood states: "7,000 units of blood are needed every day to meet hospital demand with approximately 225,000 extra blood donors needed per year. The church is made up of millions of people, who share in a rich tradition of giving, practice a rhythm of generosity and say yes to a life lived generously".

Besides being crucial to care in A&E, blood is used to treat patients with cancer, blood disorders like sickle cell or thalassemia as well as women needing blood during childbirth.

Jon Latham, assistant director of marketing at NHSBT said: "This is an extremely challenging time of year for us as we need to make sure that hospitals are supplied with the blood and platelets they need to treat patients over the Christmas holidays.

"So while people are in a generous frame of mind, we're asking that they don't forget those whose must-have gift is blood or platelets. Donating doesn't cost a penny and saves lives."

If you're 17 and over and in general good health, visit  www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23 to find a session in England or North Wales near you to go and give blood.