For the past seven years, Latter-day Saint meetinghouses throughout the UK have been opening their doors to NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) to facilitate blood donation sessions. The NHSBT, whose purpose is to save and improve lives, is most grateful to the Church for its support and its Chairman John Pattullo and CEO Ian Trenholm met with Elder Clifford T Herbertson of the Seventy and Brother David Eaton of the National Public Affairs Council to express their appreciation.
Currently, 1.3% of blood donated in the UK comes through LDS meeting houses. During 2016, 232 blood donation sessions were held in 33 wards or branches from 15 stakes up and down the country. More than 21,765 donations of blood were made, which had the potential to help 65,295 adults and over 152,395 babies.
“The NHSBT is very grateful to the Church for its commitment to help,” explains Bro Eaton. “The free use of Church buildings is invaluable to them, but if additional wards and branches got involved, we could do so much more to help save and improve the lives of sick people.”
Currently there are 45 stakes in the UK, but only 15 (less than 30%) are participating in the blood donation scheme. Of the 286 wards (not counting branches) less than 7% have become involved.
The NHSBT needs to attract 200,000 new donors every year simply to replace those who can no longer donate. In addition, it needs to recruit more young blood donors aged 17-24 years. What an opportunity for the YSA to participate in a service project that could really make a difference to someone’s life!
The NHSBT also manages the National Transplant Database. Every day three people die due to a shortage of suitable organs. The NHSBT is keen to promote organ and stem cell donations to give those on the waiting list the chance of a better life. In particular, they are looking for donors from the Afro-Caribbean, Asian and other ethnic minority communities.
“The membership of the church is diverse, with people from many different cultures and backgrounds,” comments Brother Eaton. “We are ideally situated to promote the needs of the NHSBT to our members and the larger community to which our members belong.”
Getting involved with the blood donation initiative is not difficult. Contact should initially be made with a regional contact from the NHSBT, and from there arrangements can be made to make the ward or branch cultural hall available for a donation session.
The purpose of the Church and that of the NHSBT are not too far apart. They both strive to save and improve lives. Let’s follow the mandate of President Hinckley to “Try a little harder to be a little better” and do what we can to help the NHSBT achieve its objectives!