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NHS Blood and Transplant has opened a new and improved new blood donor centre in Leicester with an urgent appeal for more than 5,900 new blood donors by 2020.
NHS Blood and Transplant has invested in the new centre because Leicester has a high number of young people and Asian people, and particularly needs to recruit more people from these communities because they have priority blood groups.
Currently 23% of Leicester’s active donors are Asian. People from the same ethnic background are more likely to share blood groups but there is a national shortage of black and Asian donors.
Mansion House opened for donations on Wednesday, 24th October 2018, replacing the old centre on Vaughan Way. The new donation centre is at Mansion House, 41 Guildhall Lane, Leicester, LE1 5FQ.
Hayley Perks, 35, from Leicester, has acute myeloid leukaemia and was given 10 weeks to live without treatment – she came to the opening day to support the appeal for donors and watch her husband Aiden, 37, donate blood.
Hayley was suddenly taken ill and diagnosed with leukaemia at the Leicester Royal Infirmary.
She has received 53 units of blood and platelets during her treatment so far and she will need more.
Hayley said: “I knew nothing about blood cancer before being diagnosed, then to be told by my consultant it was have chemotherapy or die - words can’t explain the shock I was in.
“Each blood transfusion I received during my treatment gave me an instant boost of energy, it put colour back in my cheeks and enabled me to breath freely and walk again.
“The blood products I receive give me the energy to keep fighting and has been keeping me alive.
“I will forever be grateful to blood and platelet donors, you have saved my life.
“I would love to see more people saving lives like mine by donating at this lovely new donor centre.”
Karen Ellis, Leicester Donor Centre Manager said: “We are very excited to be opening the new centre as it enables us to give our donors a better experience, and also collect more lifesaving blood and platelet donations.
“Leicester is a vibrant, growing city, with large populations of students, black people, Asian people and young people, which makes it a great place to recruit the donors of the future. We need to recruit 5,900 new blood donors at Leicester Donor Centre by 2020.
“There is an urgent need for more black and Asian blood donors to come forward. People from the same ethnic background are more likely to share the same blood group but we have a shortage of black and Asian donors. This relocation will help us to collect more blood from Leicester’s diverse population, many of whom have the valuable B blood groups.
“Giving blood is quick and easy – the donation takes no more than 15 minutes and the whole process from arrival time to completion should be an hour.”
She added: “If you are a new donor who can’t find an appointment straightaway, please don’t worry, and make an appointment for the new year. We’re currently prioritising existing donors to help build stocks for Christmas. But we need donations throughout the year.”
The new centre is in the heart of the city and is increasing from six to nine donation chairs, enabling us to collect double the amount of blood and making it easier for donors to donate. NHS Blood and Transplant aims to move from collecting around 10,000 donations a year at the old centre to 20,000 a year at the new centre.
The interior is spacious, modern and colourful with Wi-Fi and TVs and you can make appointments over your phone with easy to use Apps. New donors can still enjoy the traditional free refreshments including tea, coffee and biscuits.
NHS Blood and Transplant needs nearly 6,000 blood donations every day across England to meet the needs of hospital patients. There are currently 84,155 active blood donors in the East Midlands, including 26,094 Asian donors.
Gaurika Puri, 21, a fourth-year medical student at Leicester University, originally from Newcastle, was the first person to donate blood at the new donor centre. Gaurika has B positive blood, a group more commonly found in Asian people.
She said: “Becoming the first donor at Leicester’s new donor centre has been fantastic. Giving blood is quick and easy and at the end of it you help save someone. Everyone should do it!”
Devesh Thakkar, 36 from Leicester, has beta thalassemia major and has received over 2,000 units of blood to stay alive.
He came to the opening to say thank you to donors.
He said: “I’m with patients every day in Leicester who rely on blood transfusions to stay alive.
“The impact blood donors have on people’s lives is remarkable. I personally wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for amazing blood donors.
“You have kept me alive and I am forever grateful and thankful to you.”