Letchworth man leads urgent calls for new blood donors in East of England

55 year-old Dave Wilson was diagnosed with leukemia after being an active blood donor most of his li

55 year-old Dave Wilson was diagnosed with leukemia after being an active blood donor most of his life. Picture: supplied - Credit: Archant

A Letchworth father in recovery from leukaemia has urged men to answer the call for new blood donors in 2020.

Throughout January, NHS Blood and Transplant is running a national campaign encouraging ordinary men to become extraordinary by donating blood - amid a shortage in male donors.

David Wilson, 55 - who himself has donated blood more than 50 times in his life - was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in 2018, and received numerous life-saving transfusions.

The married father-of-two was diagnosed with the disease after suddenly losing weight and becoming easily tired.

David received dozens of units of blood and platelets - which he credits for saving his life.

"I am now completely clear of leukaemia", David said. "Without the treatment and numerous blood and platelet transfusions, I wouldn't have been here to see this Christmas, which is the greatest gift I could give to my family - apart from back to being my annoying self.

"Blood donation is extraordinary. It's just a small scratch on your arm compared to what it can do for someone else. I hope more men start giving blood in 2020."

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NHS Blood and Transplant has estimated they need 135,000 new blood donors each year to replace those who stop donating, and to ensure they have the right mix of blood groups to match patient needs.

In particular, there is a vital need for more men in the East of England to start donating blood. NHSBT is aiming for 48 per cent of all new donors in the East of England to be male during 2020.

Mike Stredder, head of donor recruitment, said: "All our donors are amazing. But we need more men to start donating blood in the east of England during the New Year. Men's blood can be used in extraordinary, lifesaving ways, but we don't have enough new male donors coming forward. This is not about recruiting as many donors as possible - it's about getting the right gender mix."

If you're interested in becoming a blood donor, visit www.blood.co.uk for more information.