Peter Jones is the black donor who has donated more of the highest priority blood type than any other black donor, NHS Blood and Transplant can reveal.
Peter, 60, a retired civil servant from Southall, has donated Ro blood 102 times, more than any other donor of black heritage. (1)
Ro is the blood type in fastest growing demand of any type. It is urgently needed to treat people with sickle cell disease, the fastest growing genetic disease in the UK. Sickle cell is more prevalent in people of black heritage, like Peter.
New figures released for National Blood Week [June 13 to 19] and World Sickle Cell Awareness Day [June 19] show hospital demand for Ro is up 57% over the past five years. March saw the highest ever monthly demand, with hospitals asking for 6805 units of Ro blood.
Peter started giving blood with work colleagues when he first joined the civil service more than 30 years ago.
I’ve met some people with sickle cell and they have all said how important donations are. I am sure all blood is in demand but I’m gratified to know that my contribution is important.
Peter feels he has volunteering spirit – although he does also like the biscuits afterwards.
He added: “Whatever your background, whatever your race or religion, I think it’s just a really good thing to do. If we have a diverse range of people donating it’s good for our whole diverse society. If you can, donate – it’s easy to do and it makes such a difference to people’s lives
Sickle cell is a genetic disorder that causes red blood cells to form into sickle or crescent shapes and become stuck in blood vessels, causing agonising crisis episodes and serious or even fatal long-term complications including organ damage and strokes.
Many patients rely on regular blood transfusions to stay alive. This blood needs to be well-matched and 55% of black people have Ro blood, compared to only 2% of the wider population.
Oyesola Oni, 39, a mother of one from Nottingham, receives blood for sickle cell and is grateful to Peter.
For one person to have donated blood 100 times is simply amazing – that’s a lifesaver right there. I’m very grateful to Peter and on behalf of myself and every sickle warrior that receives blood – thank you, Peter.
She added: “You can’t describe the pain of a sickle cell crisis. It’s like something stabbing me, at other times it’s like something crushing my bones. It’s excruciating.”
Dr. Naim Akhtar, NHSBT Consultant Haematologist and Lead in Donor Medicine, said:
Ro blood is our biggest priority and Peter has given more than any other black donor – we can’t thank him enough.
Ro is used mainly used to treat sickle cell, the most common and fastest-growing genetic disorder in the UK. It mainly affects black people.
Blood transfusions needed to closely matched, and this is most likely to come from a donor of the same ethnicity. There is a rise in black people donating blood, but we urgently need more to become regular donors.
This National Blood Week, NHSBT is appealing for new donors and also holding a mass blood type testing campaign.
- Attend a What’s Your Type Event or Register as a blood donor today and book an appointment by visiting blood.co.uk, downloading the GiveBloodNHS app or by calling 0300 123 23 23.
Written by: Stephen Bailey