WHILe the back-to-back Bank Holiday period was the perfect time for get-togethers and parties across the region – an NHS Blood and Transplant team were busy at work.
An envoy of nurses visited the William Gregg Leisure Centre, on Hands Road, in Heanor, to top up the health authority’s stock of blood.
Healthy blood stocks are vital for a number of reasons including that it is key for surgical procedures as well as receiving treatment for cancer and blood diseases, such as leukaemia.
And in the midst of back-to-back four-day holidays, the service was encouraged by the amount of Ripley and Heanor people who used their time off work well – by donating blood.
Speaking before the royal wedding, Jon Latham, assistant director of marketing for NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), said: “The Royal Wedding and the double bank holiday presented welcome extra excitement for the nation, but they could become a distraction as people throw themselves into the celebrations or take extended holidays.
“If you’ve never given blood before, right now is a good time to start.”
One person heeding the advice of Mr Latham by giving blood at the Hands Road leisure centre was 23-year-old student Helen Thornhill, from Loscoe Grange, Loscoe.
She said: “This is my fourth time. It sort of feels like it’s my bit to help and to do something good for the world.
“The first few times I did it I was a bit nervous – but this time around I felt a lot better.
NHSBT is now hoping to have another positive turnout at their next blood donation drive at the leisure centre on Sunday, May 8, and the following week, on May 15. The events will begin at 12.45pm, running until 4.40pm and anyone can drop in. One woman, who knows the importance of giving blood all too well is nurse Joanne Grace, 35, from Mundys Street, Heanor. Despite being afraid of needles she mustered up the courage to give blood for the second time at the leisure centre on April 21.
She said: “It saves lives. When you see it on the front line you just see how important it is.”
And veteran blood giver, Peter Tomlinson, 45, from Chesterfield said there is nothing to worry about for those uneasy at the idea.
He said: “Some people don’t come because they have a fear of needles but it doesn’t hurt at all. It is very easy, they are nice friendly staff and it doesn’t take much of your time. It really is easy to do and there are no side effects.”
l People aged 17 to 65 and in general good health can donate.
l Just four per cent of the population are donors.
l Eight thousand units of blood are needed each day.
l Last year 2.1 million units of blood were donated by 1.6 million donors.