Eight celebrities, each representing one of the major blood groups, are supporting NHS Blood and Transplant’s campaign to increase blood stocks this summer.
Gary Lineker, Sarah Beeny, Jayne Torvill, Graham Bell, Greg James, Rachel Riley, Twin B and Saira Khan will lend their support to the campaign to boost blood stocks by 30 per cent above usual levels ahead of the Olympic Games and encourage donors to support their country by contributing to blood supplies.
The Team Give Blood ‘captains’, will encourage people of a specific blood type to donate ahead of a summer of major national events, including the Jubilee and Olympics as well as major international sporting events such as the football European Championships. The celebrities will be using their own social media profiles to encourage the public to be a part of ‘Team Give Blood’ by donating, as well as appearing in promotional materials and mailers.
Jon Latham, spokesperson for NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), said: “This year we need donors more than ever before because major public events can disrupt regular donations and we have extra visitors to the UK to prepare ahead for. We know our regular donors feel a strong sense of team spirit and positivity about their contribution to the Health of the nation, so this campaign will help capture the national spirit of 2012 and ensure we are well prepared for the summer’s festivities.”
The celebrities will be championing the following blood groups:
- Gary Lineker, ex footballer and presenter – captain of Team O-, the universal blood type, which can be given to people of any blood type and is therefore often used in emergency situations. Just 7% of the population have O- blood.
- Greg James, radio presenter – as captain of Team O+, Greg will be appealing to 37% of the population with this blood type. This is the most common blood type in the UK.
- Saira Khan, presenter and entrepreneur – captain of Team A-. One of the rarer blood types, just 7% of people has A- blood and it is more common in the Asian and African-Caribbean population.
- Rachel Riley, TV presenter – captain of Team A+. 35% of the population in England and North Wales are A+, making it one of the most common blood types and also one of the most used.
- Twin B, DJ and radio presenter – the radio DJ is captain of Team B- not only because it’s his favourite letter, but because just 2% of the population have this blood type. As with A-, it is more common in the Asian and African-Caribbean population.
- Sarah Beeny, presenter and entrepreneur – captain of Team B+, Sarah will be appealing to people with this blood type who are eligible to come forward and make a date to donate. Although just 8% of the population are B+, globally this figure is 20%, meaning higher levels will be needed in preparation for the increased visitors expected this summer.
- Jayne Torvill, Olympic gold medallist – captain of Team AB-, which is the rarest blood type in the UK, with just 1% of the population having this blood type.
- Graham Bell, former Olympian and TV presenter – captain of Team AB+. Just 3% of the population have this blood type, though globally this figure is 5%.
Past experience shows that even regular donors miss appointments during national events and celebrations as people become distracted and routines are disrupted. This, combined with the high numbers of international visitors expected this year with a different native blood mix to our own may also put high demand on specific blood groups.
Blood is used to help treat Health conditions including cancer and long term illnesses, trauma incidents and maternity care. Hospitals across England and North Wales need 7,000 units of blood every day and each unit saves or improves the lives of three patients.
If you are eligible to donate or are thinking of donating for the first time please go to blood.co.uk or ring us on 0300 123 23 23 and make an appointment now.