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Free Churches GroupOrgan donation
Blood/Organ campaign
for BME Churches 

Debbie Hodge from the Free Churches Group writes about a 'Call to Action':

The Free Churches Group working with the Blood Transfusion and Organ donation services facilitated a one day conference with 'BME' Churches. The aim of the day was to encourage more blood donors from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities to come forward to meet the needs of patients from these backgrounds, as certain conditions, such as sickle cell and thalassaemia, are more prevalent within these communities.  Indeed, some rare types are also only found within these communities and patients who require regular blood transfusions benefit from receiving blood from donors with a similar ethnic background.

Sickle cell disease is the name for a group of inherited conditions that affect the red blood cells. The most serious type is called sickle cell anaemia. Sickle cell disease mainly affects people of African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Eastern Mediterranean and Asian origin. In the UK, it's particularly common in people with an African or Caribbean family background. People with sickle cell disease produce unusually shaped red blood cells that can cause problems because they don't live as long as healthy blood cells and they can become stuck in blood vessels.

Sickle cell disease is a serious and lifelong condition, although long-term treatment can help manage many of the problems associated with it. Black, Asian and minority ethnic donors are specifically needed right now because:

  • some patients who receive frequent blood transfusions need blood to be closely matched to their own
  • a number of blood conditions, like sickle cell disease which is treated through blood transfusions, most commonly affect black, Asian and minority ethnic people
  • the best match typically comes from blood donors from the same ethnic background.

While people from all communities and backgrounds give blood, but fewer than 5% of our blood donors who gave blood in the last year were from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. This is despite black, Asian and minority ethnic communities representing around 14% of the population. We want to try and readdress this balance, and just for information, if you have the sickle cell trait you can still become a blood donor.

Major David Evans, the Salvation Army Territorial Ecumenical Officer, also writes about new blood and organ legislation and the change from 'opt in' to 'opt out' re donating from 2020:

The Salvation Army as an international intercultural church welcomes the new legislation regarding "Blood and Organ Transfer". Our maxim of "Heart to God and hand to man" encourages us to serve effectively, where possible, the needs of the various communities in which we serve. In the United Kingdom growing numbers of our denomination come from Afro-Carribean origins and alongside the Black majority churches we encourage the Black Community to consider this new legislation and the benefits it has already made in Wales since the legislation was adopted there in 2013". 

For further information about this Free Churches campaign, 'A Call to Action' and the new legislation: please visit here.

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