Church leaders back NHS campaign for more Black blood and organ donors this Easter

Black Christian church leaders are joining with NHS Blood and Transplant this Easter to urge more Black people to become blood and organ donors and give hope to patients in need of an ethnically matched donor.

1 April 2021

The Give Hope This Easter campaign

The Give Hope This Easter campaign calls on members of the Black Christian community to do two good deeds by registering their organ donation decision and sharing their decision with their family, and registering to give blood.

Although more people from Black backgrounds are now giving blood and donating their organs after they have died, there is still an urgent shortage of donors to help Black patients whose best chance of finding a match may come from a donor of the same ethnicity.

Bishop Dexter Edmund of Bethel Church UKAmong those supporting NHS Blood and Transplant’s campaign are Bishop Dexter Edmund of Bethel Church UK; Pastor Ian Sweeney, President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church; and Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover.

Bishop Edmund said: “During Easter I am reminded of how Jesus gave His life to save my own. This gift of life is a theme that dominates the gospel story and we as Christians are challenged daily to follow the Lord’s example and ‘do unto others what you would like for them to do to you’.

“As both a registered organ donor and blood donor, I have made a personal commitment to help as many people live as I possibly can. My commitment also includes encouraging as many of my brothers and sisters of faith to join me in giving life to someone else. There continues to be a shortage of donors from the Black community. The time to rectify this is now. Join me in supporting the NHS ‘Give Hope This Easter’ campaign as He gave His life for us, we can give life to others.”

There continues to be a shortage of donors from the Black community. The time to rectify this is now.
Bishop Dexter Edmund

Bethel Church UK

Pastor Ian Sweeney, President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church

Pastor Sweeney said: “During Easter, the Christian faith community focuses upon the sacrifice of one person whose action makes eternal life possible for all. While I am not calling on anyone to lay down their life today, it is because of Jesus’ example that I encourage people to give blood, and for families to consider organ donation when loved ones sadly pass away. Death is never a pleasant subject to consider, however, we have an opportunity both in life and death, to help others to live.”

More Black blood donors are urgently needed to help people with sickle cell, a blood disorder more common in Black people. Patients require regular blood transfusions to help treat and prevent the painful symptoms and complications, which can include stroke and loss of vision.

Ethnically matched blood gives patients the best chance for long-term health and donors of Black heritage are 10 times more likely to have the Ro blood type needed to treat sickle cell.

For many patients in need of a kidney transplant, the best match could also come from a donor from the same ethnic background. But the shortage of Black organ donors means Black patients often wait significantly longer than white patients for a successful match.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is calling on members of the Black community and faith stakeholders to support its campaign by sharing messages on social media and helping to raise awareness of the need for donors of Black heritage.

Geraldine Parker, National BAME Marketing Manager at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We know that Christians are motivated by compassion and mercy. By sharing this vital message at Easter, a time of love, hope, reflection, life and resurrection, and with the valued support of church leaders, we hope more people in the Black Christian community will be inspired to become blood and organ donors, and give hope to others.

“Although the law around organ donation changed in England last year, many people don’t realise that families will still be approached before any donation goes ahead, so it’s important to share your decision with them.

“Giving blood is safe, quick and easy. Blood donation is classed as essential travel during coronavirus restrictions and all sessions have extra safety measures in place.”

Register your organ donation decision

NHS Blood and Transplant is urging people to register their organ donation decision and to share their decision with their family.

Your family will always be involved before organ donation goes ahead, and can override your decision if they aren't sure what you want.

Become a blood donor

Register today and book and appointment.

Already registered? Book an appointment to give blood