Cameroon footballers from Manchester support call for more black blood donors

FOOTBALL team players are urging fellow black people to give blood. Members of ‘2 Zero Manchester’ visited Plymouth Grove Donor Centre on Upper Brook Street to sign up as donors.

The players are all from Cameroon and they will be helping spread the word at a Cameroon National Day celebration at Wythenshawe Sports Ground on May 27th and 28th. People from the same ethnic background are more likely to have matching blood groups, but there are not enough black donors, particularly donors with the valuable Ro blood subtype. Ro is often crucial for people who need ongoing transfusions, such as sickle cell disease patients.

In Greater Manchester, only 2% of all donors are black.

NHS Blood and Transplant staff will be at the Cameroon day celebration to sign up new black blood donors. Around 650 people attending the gala night at the AJ Bell stadium in Salford on May 28 will receive ‘Give Blood’ leaflets.

Footballer Jean-Martial Django, 43, from Alt, who is managing the national day event, used to be a regular donor in Cameroon. Jean-Martial, who works in maintenance at Manchester University, said: “Everyone needs blood, and you need the right blood for the patient. What happens to sick people if they don’t get it?

“It feels amazing to give blood. You are giving life. If you can give someone that gift, why shouldn’t you?

“People don’t understand the need for Black African donors but when they understand, they are willing to give.”

Jean Martial could not give a full donation on this occasion, because his blood was not flowing fast enough, but has arranged to come back again. The footballers were also joined by Blaise Mendouo, a boxer who competed for Cameroon in the 2012 Olympics. Blaise now lives in Newton Heath and trains in Salford.

There are more than 31,000 blood donors in Greater Manchester but just 756 with the valuable Ro subtype.

People can sign up to donate online and the donor centres in Plymouth Grove and Norfolk House are ideal places for a first donation.

Richard Shortland, Head of Regional Blood Marketing, said: “We are incredibly grateful to the organisers of this event for their support.

“Blood donation saves lives and it’s vitally important that donors are representative of the population of the UK as a whole.

“It’s quick and easy to sign up as a new donor at blood.co.uk.”

Stephen Bailey

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