Anmol Sharma

NHSF (UK) Core Sewa Team Member

After a busy Sewa Day, NHSF (UK) is preparing for the next Sewa campaign: National Donation Day (NDD)! NDD is a campaign that began three years ago as National Blood Donation Day and has now evolved into National Donation Day. By doing this we hope to get more of our members signed up to the NHS organ donors list and the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow donors list. Last year was the first year of this campaign in its rebranded form and this year we are hoping to make it even bigger and better!

There are many ways for members to get involved with NDD on the 4th November 2015; from donating blood, to signing up to the bone marrow donor’s register and the organ donor’s list operated by NHS.

 

Why bother donating blood?

  • There is a serious shortage of blood supplies in the UK currently – specifically B- and O- blood types.
  • Only 2% of the South Asian community donate blood.
  • 25% of the Asian community are blood group type B+, compared to 9% of Caucasians.
  • In the case of patients requiring long-term blood transfusion programs (needing a lot of blood over a long period of time) it is beneficial to have blood that is as community matched as possible.
  • By donating blood you can save lives – one donation can improve or save the lives of 3 adults or 7 babies.
  • If this still doesn’t convince you to donate blood, perhaps this will!


How do I go about donating blood?

This is a really simple process! The first step is to sign up to the blood donor register by visiting the following page: www.blood.co.uk. Once you have done this, you can book an appointment at the closest blood donation centre. Next step? Just turn up and make a positive difference!

Sometimes people are scared to donate blood because of the stigma surrounding the process. If you are scared of needles, know that there is just minimal pain for a few seconds but the actual process of donating blood is pain free. Another doubt that people have is that they need the blood and they will feel drowsy after the process. The NHS nurses and operating staff are fantastic at taking care of donors and offer tea and healthy snacks to recover after donating blood. The only thing you need to take care of is actually turning up!

 

How about Bone Marrow – how is that important?

  • In the UK every 20 minutes someone is diagnosed with blood cancer
  • 25,000 people per year are diagnosed with blood cancer in the UK alone
  • What is the cure? It’s not a pill or in the lab…it’s YOU!
  • A British Caucasian can’t help an Asian patient with blood cancer
  • Only 6% of the UK’s population is Asian – it is only these 6% that can help save the life of another Asian patient
  • All it takes is a healthy 16-30 year old to donate blood

 

What now? How do I make a difference?

Visit the Anthony Nolan website and read their criteria to ensure you are eligible to join the register. Then you can proceed to complete the online application process and following this, you should receive a spit kit in the post. All you need to do is spit into a small tube and post it back to Anthony Nolan who will run tests on your spit sample and put the results into their database. Every time someone needs a transplant they’ll automatically compare their tissue to yours – and the 490,000 other incredible individuals on their register. Should you be a match, you will be contacted by Anthony Nolan and the procedure will continue from there. So go ahead, become a lifesaver through the power of a couple of clicks.

 

What about Organ Donation?

  • Currently, there are fewer than 5,000 people that die in the UK each year in a state where they can donate their organs
  • Joining the register would mean that you are willing to donate your organs after you die
  • Your organs can save the life of a desperately ill person after you have passed away
  • Patients from the Black, Asian and some Ethnic Minority (BAME) group tend to suffer more from organ damaging illnesses – and are more likely to need the organ transplant
  • 66% of BAME community are not signed up – therefore there are less chances of a match

An organ is an essential part of the human body that carries out its function silently and efficiently while you are alive. Without a functioning organ, it can become difficult to carry out daily tasks. It is now possible to sign up to the NHS Organ Donation register online and give your consent to the NHS to use your organs once you have passed on and make a difference to someone’s life even in your afterlife.

One of the aims of the NDD campaign this year is to get as many members trained to take the spit test on behalf of Anthony Nolan as possible. At many Zonal events, NHSF (UK) invites Anthony Nolan to get members signed up to the bone marrow donor register. During the day, many of our members give a spit sample to determine if they are a match for anyone requiring a transplant. The purpose of training members of NHSF (UK) is that they will be able to offer the spit test themselves, such as at local events within the community or even during university events – thereby increasing the reach of the National Donation Day campaign. With the help of Anthony Nolan and the local Marrow societies, hopefully, this aim is achieved and we can make a long lasting impact on our members.

Remember – this is the time to unleash the superhero within you!