University cricketers highlight the need for blood donation

Players from the University of Leicester first and seconds cricket team and development squad dressed in their cricket whites to donate blood and help save and improve lives.

Seven players from the University volunteered to donate after 1st Team Captain Jack Stokes rallied the team and asked for volunteers to give blood with him. Thirty volunteers came forward and are all set to donate at the cities donor centre on Vaughan Way over the next few months.

Jack, 21, who has just completed his final year as a Geography BA student, wanted to follow in his family footsteps by encouraging the team to donate.

Jack said: “I’m from a family of blood donors, my granny and granddad both gave blood, my granddad donated more than 50 times! My granddad had to stop giving blood though after receiving blood while having a double hip replacement. As he can’t donate any longer I wanted to give something back and get the team involved too. My granddad is really proud of us all donating and thinks it is nice to give something back.”

Robert Garden: 19, from Farnham, gave his second donation along with the team. Robert’s mum has received blood so he wished to donate and help save lives.

Robert said: “Giving blood is such a small thing to do but can save someone’s life.”

Nick Astley, 21, from Preston, joined the team for his fifth donation. Nick’s dad inspired him to give blood.

Nick said: “Giving blood is straightforward and helps to save people’s lives. It’s very worthwhile.”

Eesa Najib, 20, from Birmingham, donated for the first time with the team.

Speaking of his first donation Eesa said: “Giving blood was great, a very easy process. It really didn’t take long and can help a lot of people.”

Each blood donation can potentially save the lives of three people so the students will have potentially gone on to help save the lives of 21 people.

Karen Healy, Communications and Marketing Officer at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “We are delighted that the University of Leicester cricket team are supporting blood donation. Younger donors are especially important to us as they help us to maintain the blood supply for the future.  I hope that the players have inspired more students from the University to donate with the knowledge that their donations save lives and that it is an easy thing to do.”

Although overall blood use within the NHS has reduced thanks to improvements in clinical and surgical practices, hospitals and patients still rely on more than 6,000 people attending a donation session every day across England.

Blood is required to treat patients for a whole range of reasons. It is used in accident and emergency situations, during surgery and in maternity and neonatal care when either mum or baby need blood.  It is also used as a treatment for cancer and for blood disorders, such as sickle cell anaemia.

We always need new donors to replace those who can’t donate anymore and to ensure we have the right mix of donors to meet patient needs now and in the future. In particular we need more South Asian donors so we can better meet the needs of our patients. Only 2% of people who donated blood in the last year were from South Asian communities compared with 5.5% of the population in England.

In general, as long as you are fit and healthy, weigh over 7 stone 12 lbs (50kg) and are aged between 17 and 66 (up to 70 if you have given blood before) you should be able to give blood. If you are over 70, you need to have given blood in the last two years to continue donating.

You can register as a donor, find out whether we’ve got a session coming up in your area and book an appointment to donate whenever and wherever you are through or by using our app on your Android, Windows or Apple device. To download an app for your device, search 'NHSGiveBlood' in the app store.