Posted on Tuesday 12 November 2013
Alexis Wallace and her mum Clare
Five-year-old Alexis Wallace is the star of a radio advert and online film, appealing to people to give blood this Christmas.
Alexis was diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia at three-months-old and needs blood transfusions every four weeks to keep her alive. She says: “All my friends want the latest doll or video game, and although I do too, what I really need is blood.”
November through to the New Year is a challenging time for blood stocks. The NHS Blood and Transplant campaign calls for people to 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 almost half a million units of blood to see them through Christmas and New Year. However, the busy Christmas period means that taking the time to donate can slip off people’s to-do lists putting pressure on blood and platelet stocks.
A new radio advert, online campaign and short YouTube film is set to remind everyone why they should give the ultimate gift.
Alexis’s 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. My daughter, and other sick children like her, need blood to stay alive or to be well enough to enjoy Christmas, so please if you can, donate blood or platelets now or in the next few weeks.”
A unit of blood has a shelf life of 35 days and a unit of platelets lasts only seven. Hospitals in England and north Wales need 7,000 units of blood every day to treat patients in urgent need. Each unit donated could help save or improve the lives of up to three people. 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.
While all donors are important, O negative and B negative blood donors and A negative and AB negative platelet donors are particularly needed.
If you’re 17 or older and in good health, visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23 to find a session near you to give blood or platelets.