‘WHAT’S your type?’

NHS Blood and Transplant’s appropriately-titled Valentine’s Day campaign aims to recruit more donors and they are heading to the streets of Bradford.

The team will be running sessions at City Hall on February 8 and Bradford Royal Infirmary on February 15 - they are particularly keen to recruit new donors with high priority blood types in the city.

Testing people’s blood types only takes a few minutes and is performed in a finger prick test by NHS Blood and Transplant staff. People can see the results in front of them.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of blood types, educate people on how blood donations contribute to saving lives and recruit more priority donors to meet hospital demand.

According to NHS Blood and Transplant, there is an increasing need for certain key blood types. Between 2014 and 2018 there was a four per cent increase in the proportion of priority blood groups issued from Leeds stock holding unit which serves the hospitals in Bradford.

The priority blood groups are O negative, the universal blood group that can be given to everyone and is often used when a patient’s blood type isn’t known such as in an emergency situation; B negative - only two per cent of donors are B negative which can be given as an alternative for patients with blood disorders when not enough B positive is available and A negative which has platelets which can be given to anyone. Platelets are tiny cells that help stop bleeding and are especially important for cancer patients.

NHS Blood and Transplant always needs new blood donors to replace those who can no longer donate. They are also keen to ensure a mix of donors to meet patient needs now and in future.

The Bradford donor centre has a below average proportion of blood donors with the group O negative.

Ruth Turner, Bradford Donor Centre manager, said: “People are always curious to find out their blood type and why it is special.

“What’s Your Type events are a fun way to find out and we’d love people to come along and learn how their blood type is special for saving lives - and you might meet your perfect match,” says Ruth.

Adding: “We need new blood donors in Bradford in order to ensure we have the right blood to help patients. We need 105 donors this February at Bradford donation centre. It’s quick and easy to donate.”

Since becoming a blood donor more than 20 years ago Ian Nixon has donated 101 times. He also donated platelets for a time too.

Ian was 18 when he attended his first blood donor session - following in his father’s footsteps.

“I think he did it for the goodwill of others,” says Ian, referring to his father’s decision to become a donor.

Similarly, Ian followed suit. “My father had always donated blood and I thought it was a good thing to do.

“ If you think about the blood bank you are making a donation and making an investment,” says Ian, referring to the lives that can potentially be saved through being a blood donor.

“It is one little thing you can do that does potentially save lives.”

People lead busy lives fitting work around family time, but giving blood doesn’t take long - and think of the difference you could make to someone’s life

Working as a national sales manager, the 53-year-old, from Scholes, has a demanding career which involves travelling the length and breadth of the UK.

Treat it like another appointment is Ian’s advice - and if you work in the city spare a few minutes to pop to your local blood donor centre and do your bit.

“You may need it yourself one day and if you were lying in hospital and they didn’t have enough blood you have to put the onus back on yourself,” says Ian.

Blood donors, like Ian, are demonstrating the important part they play in potentially saving people’s lives.

Every day 6,000 blood donors across the country make a difference.

Giving blood helps those who are depending on blood donations such as patients receiving treatment following accidents; after surgery; during childbirth or for health conditions such as cancer or blood disorders.

For those who would like to become a blood donor, locally there is a dedicated Donor Centre in Kenburgh House, 28a Manor Row, Bradford.

Donor centres are open for longer hours on weekdays and at weekends.

For more information call 0300 123 23 23 use the GiveBlood app or visit blood.co.uk.