ACTORS at the RSC are used to the sight of blood – although it’s usually fake.
But it was the real thing for Paapa Essiedu, Nia Gwynne and James Corrigan as they rolled up their sleeves to give blood to help save lives and raise awareness of the need for more new young and black donors.
Nia’s baby son received lifesaving blood transfusions last year.
Nia, who plays Goneril in the current production of King Lear, said: “Arthur was born three months premature and needed several blood transfusions during his long stay in hospital. Quite simply, people giving blood saved his life, more than once.”
In England every minute, thanks to blood donors, three units of blood are issued to hospitals to treat patients.
For patients receiving treatment for cancer, blood disorders, after accidents or during surgery, or new mums who lose blood in childbirth, blood is an absolutely essential part of healthcare.
But NHS Blood and Transplant – the service which collects, tests and processes blood for hospitals across England – say while hospitals have the blood needed to treat patients there is a need for more new donors – particularly more young donors and more black and South Asian donors.
Mike Stredder, NHS Blood and Transplant Director of Blood Donation said: “We are really grateful to Paapa, Nia and James and to the RSC for helping raise awareness of blood donation. Blood donation is an amazing gift and every donation can save or transform up to three lives.
“Thanks to the generosity of our current donors, hospitals have the blood needed to treat patients and there is not a crisis in blood stocks. Despite overall blood use in hospitals declining, we need more young donors to safeguard blood donation for future generations.
“And it’s vital the blood donor community reflects the diversity of the population because blood types vary across communities and patients need well-matched blood.”
Only one per cent of people who donated blood in the last year were from black communities. Donors from these communities are more likely to have rare blood types which can help treat conditions such as Sickle Cell Disease, which may require regular blood transfusions. For people with these conditions, blood from donors of the same ethnic background can provide the best chance of a match and therefore the best clinical outcome.
Paapa, the RSc’s first black Hamlet who is now Edmund in King Lear, said: “Giving blood is a crucially important way for all of us to support our NHS – and so easy to do.”
To sign up as a new donor, visit: www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.