Black & Asian Celebrities Join Forces to Increase the Number of Ethnic Blood Donors

Black & Asian Celebrities Join Forces to Increase the Number of Ethnic Blood Donors

The National Blood Service (NBS) has recruited some of the country’s leading Black and Asian celebrities to front a new campaign highlighting the shortage of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) blood donors. The NBS works to maintain sufficient blood supplies by collecting and distributing blood from donors in England and North Wales.

With the ‘Circle of Life’ campaign, Black, Asian and Mixed-Race celebrities have created circular designs to add their own interpretation of the ‘Give Blood’ message. Designs range from the touching to the tongue-in-cheek, with famous faces pulling together to raise awareness of the situation.

The NBS needs to collect 8,000 donations of blood every day in order to ensure patients get the treatments they need, and there are certain issues for which ethnicity is crucially important. Patients with conditions like sickle cell anaemia and thalassaemia, which particularly affect ethnic communities, require regular blood transfusions to stay alive. However, only three per cent of the NBS donor base are from the BME community.

TV presenter Reggie Yates, commented: ”I’ve seen those close to me affected by the great need for blood donation. When I was eight years old, my babysitter had a sickle cell seizure, and it’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen. If our community can just spend a little time to give something that costs nothing, we can help stop the pain and save lives.”

Singer Jay Sean added; “I trained to be a doctor, so I know that there are 1001 reasons to give blood. Whether it’s emergency treatments or regular transfusions, every single drop counts.”

The NBS is also trying to increase the number of BME donors on the British Bone Marrow Register (BBMR). Black and Asian patients are likely to spend much longer waiting for a suitable tissue match to treat leukaemia and other similar potentially fatal illnesses. Bone marrow contains specific characteristics, and while there around 285,000 registered potential bone marrow donors on the British Bone Marrow Register, only three per cent are from BME communities.

The celebrity ‘Circle of Life’ artworks highlight issues relating to health, community and charity and will be on display at The Hospital Gallery, Covent Garden in October. They will then be auctioned on to raise money for the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust, Sickle Cell Society, UK Thalassaemia Society and Ibrahim’s Appeal.

Celebrity artists taking part include Radio 1 and MTV presenter Trevor Nelson, boxing champion Amir Khan, singer Jamelia, actress Preeya Kalidas, Footballers’ Wives star Chucky Venice and Celebrity fitness guru Harvey Walden.

Donors can ring the National Donor Helpline on 0845 7 711 711 (open 24hrs) or visit to register their details and find the venues and times for their nearest blood donation session.

If you are aged between 17 – 59 years of age (you can give blood on your 60th birthday), in general good health and weigh over 7st 12lbs (50kgs) you could support the campaign, just call the Donor Helpline to find out more about where you can make your donation to help save someone’s life.

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Name: Emma Mac