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World News

‘Be the answer to someone’s prayers’: Pastor calls on people to donate blood

by Kelly Valencia

A pastor based in Birmingham is urging people to donate blood this Easter as part of the NHS Blood and Transplant campaign.

Maxine Douglas, a pastor at the Church of God of Prophecy Trust, recently became a first-time blood donor alongside her 18-year-old sons, Keiron Hendricks-Douglas and Harun Richards, aged 21.

Their decision to donate stems from personal experiences within their family. Douglas’ niece, Georgina, who is Harun's mother, required blood during her breast cancer treatment. Additionally, their adoptive grandmother, Loris, needed blood when she was terminally ill.

Reflecting on these experiences, Douglas remarked: “We wanted to donate because Georgina and nanny Green had their lives extended because donated blood was available.

“When blood donation comes close to your life it makes you reflect. You think - if my nearest and dearest needs blood, will it be available?

“But it’s not something we should just leave to others. You could be the answer to someone’s prayers.

The NHS requires up to 200,000 new blood donors annually to replenish those who cease donating and to ensure a suitable array of blood groups to meet future patient demands. There's a pressing need for Ro blood donors, as only two per cent of current donors possess this blood type. Ro blood is crucial for individuals with sickle cell disease, which is notably more prevalent among people of Black heritage.

Douglas is actively disseminating information about blood donation to her congregation at the in Birmingham, dispelling misconceptions and asking: "If Jesus were among us today, what would he advocate?"

The pastor concluded: “It’s important to me to lead by example. I don’t want to just say ‘do this good thing’, I want to show I’m prepared to do it.”

“My sister has thalassemia and members of my family have sickle cell trait so I understand the importance of receiving blood from a donor of the same ethnicity.

“Giving blood is a way we can help to reduce the health inequalities that exist. It’s an easy thing to do, and the right thing to do.”

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