A Suffolk man who relies on people giving blood to back up multiple transfusions is supporting an urgent call for more donors.
Back in October Mark Pritchard, from Ipswich, received the news that he was fighting an aggressive form of blood cancer.
Ever since his diagnosis the 41-year-old has had several rounds of chemotherapy and multiple blood transfusions to help top up his white blood cell count and haemoglobin levels.
Without the transfusions he is left feeling weak and has been known to pass out – so for him, blood donation has become something of a lifeline.
Now he is supporting a campaign being launched today by the NHS in Suffolk and north Essex calling on people to sign up and save lives.
NHS Blood and Transplant’s #ImThere initiative urges people who have not given blood before to sign up and do their bit to help those in need. Mark said: “It really is a crucial thing, and it is so easy to do. Blood donors are phenomenal and they save lives everyday without knowing it.
“For me personally I’ve been through countless chemotherapy sessions and blood transfusions so I am really grateful.
He added: “The treatment has knocked me for six and without those blood transfusions I feel weak and sometimes pass out.
“Blood donation really is a brilliant thing and I would support any campaign asking more people to sign up.”
Across Britain, 200,000 new blood donors are needed each year to ensure the health service has the right mix of blood groups.
More than 16,000 people in Suffolk gave blood at least once – but NHS chiefs are now saying hundreds more donors, particularly young people, need to sign up. Around 27,000 people donated in Essex.
Director of blood donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, Mike Stredder, said: “Every day, blood donors from Suffolk and north Essex make a difference, saving people whose lives depend on blood. At the same time, there is an ongoing need for more young donors to safeguard blood donation for future generations.
“And it is vital our blood donors, reflect the diversity of the population because blood types vary across communities.”
• To sign up as a new donor or book an appointment, click here or call 0300 123 23 23.