Help Your Community – Give Blood
“There are a lot of black and Asian people out there who desperately need help, and they can’t get it from anyone else but their own communities. It’s something we’ve all got to consider, because we’re the only ones who can help each other.” – Gina Yashere
I’ve given blood this week, and have given donations in the past. It’s something I’ve done without publicity, without spreading the word. I do it when I can, kicking any subtle needle-phobia I have into touch and donating before going about the rest of my day-to-day. Donating secretly and quietly – for altruism doesn’t need publicity right? But the statistics have made me rethink that. The Great Ormond Street programme shown on the BBC recently made me rethink that. Various appeals made in regional news programmes have made me rethink that. It’s time we start actively encouraging each other to give blood.
Because we have a problem.
According to Blood.co.uk, about 14% of the UK population are from a black, Asian or other ethnic minority background. But there’s such a shortage of minority donors that only 3.5% of those who have donated blood in the past 2 years are people from these ethnic groups! This means that if you’re black or Asian, your chances of finding an unrelated matched donor are lower than if you were white. Much lower.
It’s clear once you look into the matter that the greatest demand comes from the communities with the lowest donation rates and the hardest tissue types to match – i.e. communities such as ours. Certain ethnic groups often require certain blood types. And with such difficulties in matching, we need to be doing more as a community to help each other out, just like Gina says in the quote at the beginning of the post.
According to ACLT, just one unit (475mls) of blood can help save 3 adults or 7 babies of any race. Rare blood groups like U negative are only found amongst people of African and Caribbean descent. We are all fully aware of the many appeals and charities out there related to disorders like Sickle Cell, a disorder prevalent in the Black community, whose sufferers know very well the significance of blood, because regular transfusions can prove life-saving.
So if you are reading this, and you are from a Black, Asian or other ethnic minority background, tell your friends about blood donation. Take a second to put the idea forward to colleagues at work, fellow church members, family, schoolmates, even followers on social media. Take a minute to think about it yourself. Take a little time to read the links at the end of the post…
…And realise that giving blood could be one of the best things you’ll do this year for your community, your people. It costs nothing more than a little time. Time which could grant someone out there much more time to enjoy what life has to give. Someone out there somewhere will be forever grateful that you decided to act to give them a better chance. Someone out there somewhere would be forever indebted to you for your charity.
By Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)