Derry’s public are being urged to donate blood to save lives following a dramatic fall in supply levels over the Christmas period.
The appeal was made as the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service (NIBTS) held blood donating clinics in Derry this week. Over the Christmas period blood stocks in the city dwindled due to high demand, prompting the appeal.
The Catholic Church’s Derry Diocesan spokesman Fr Michael Canny supported the appeal while giving his 55th pint of blood at the Playhouse on Wednesday. “It’s something I’ve been doing for years and something which I would encourage everyone to do,” he said.
Paul McElkerney, from the NIBTS, said prolific donors such as the Fr Canny were vitally important to keeping people alive. “Having given more than 55 units of blood, he has saved a lot of people. He would have saved a minimum of 25 lives through his donations so the importance of donating blood speaks for itself.” Mr McElkerney added that many donors don’t realise the importance of giving blood. “The fact is that every time someone gives blood within a few days it will help save the life of one of 500 people waiting for it.”
SDLP Health Spokesperson Mark H Durkan has rowed in behind the campaign and urged people in Derry to come forward. The Foyle MLA said:
“Over the Christmas and New Year period, we have witnessed a huge increase in the number of patients requiring blood transfusions. As a result, the NIBTS blood stock is at rather low levels, particularly here in the Derry. NIBTS usually has enough blood donations to last five or six days, however currently there is only enough stock for even two or three days at the blood bank.” Mr Durkan added: “I am hopeful that the people of Derry, who can give, will give and come forward to donate. Chances are you will know someone whose life has been saved by a blood transfusion. By donating blood, you will be saving a life.”
The next event in Derry will be held next Friday at Clooney Hall between the hours of 1.30-4pm and 5.15-8pm. Mr Durkan said: “I appeal to those who are able, to take a few minutes out of your day in order to make a big difference to someone’s life. More information can be found on the NIBTS website www.nbits.org.”
Anyone who wishes to enrol with NIBTS to be alerted as to when donation events are taking place in Derry can do so by calling 0500 534 666, texting ‘blood’ to 60081 or registering at www.nibts.org