British Muslims are showing their support for blood donation this month by giving blood to save lives in 10 cities across the UK as part of a national campaign that launches this week.
Running throughout November and December 2012, the Imam Hussain (A.S) Blood Donation Campaign aims to increase the number of regular blood donors from Muslim communities nationwide.
Since its inception in 2006 by volunteers from the Islamic Unity Society (IUS), the campaign has recruited hundreds of new donors and has expanded each year. It is now an annual campaign, holding several blood donation sessions in partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), to commemorate the Islamic month of Muharram.
Dr Marwan Al-Dawoud, IUS Community Officer told People With Voices: “Giving blood is a simple yet highly rewarding act in saving God's greatest gift: life. An important part of our faith as Muslims is to contribute to the society we live in and this campaign encourages people to do just that.”
A single blood donation has the potential to save three lives. It can be broken down into three component parts – red cells, white cells and platelets. Red cells can be used to help treat people with anaemia; platelets are often given to cancer patients having chemotherapy and white cells are used to treat burns victims.
Often, rare blood groups are more common within certain ethnic groups, so encouraging people with rarer blood types to donate is a constant challenge.”
At present only three per cent of regular blood donors are from an Asian, African and African-Caribbean backgrounds. Anyone aged between 17 and 65, generally in good health and weighing more than 50 kg (7st 12lbs) could potentially become a blood donor and help to save lives.
The Imam Hussain (A.S) Blood Donation Campaign was started in 2006 by young Muslims in Manchester. It is now the biggest nationwide campaign in the UK which aims to increase the number of blood donors from Muslim communities.
Theo Clarke, Lead Donor Relations Manager for BME and special projects with NHSBT told People With Voices: “It’s great to have such an opportunity to work with the local Muslim community in promoting blood donation at this special time and I thank them for their support."
For further details of the campaign and where to give blood visit the website: http://www.ius.org.uk/giveblood/