Blood cancer charity ACLT (African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust) and NHS Blood and Transplant have teamed up to launch a new campaign film, #ImOnIt to highlight the importance of black and mixed race people signing up to become a stem cell donor as well as registering as blood and organ donors.
The film features the recital of a spoken word poem written by Mark Thompson; husband of leukaemia survivor Sarah Thompson. Through the poem, Mark talks about the ‘ultimate gift of life’ given to Sarah when she received a stem cell transplant ten years ago, this year.
The short piece is narrated by several well-known faces from the UK’s music and entertainment industry; including Alesha Dixon (Britain’s Got Talent), Richard Blackwood (Eastenders), Chizzy Akudolu (Holby City), Ashley Walters (Top Boy), Jovian Wade (Eastenders) and more.
During the video, the celebrities speak directly to camera and call on people to say “I’m On It” and register to become a blood, organ, and stem cell donor.
Orin Lewis, ACLT co-founder & CEO said:
“The need for black blood, organ and stem cell donors can’t be emphasised enough. Alongside NHS Blood and Transplant, we are encouraging people from black and mixed race backgrounds to say #ImOnIt and to sign up to give blood, donate their organs after death and to join the stem cell register. It is vital we highlight the woeful statistics and help save the lives of those in need.”
Ian Trenholm, Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant, said:
“We need more black people to register as blood, organ and stem cell donors. Some rare blood types are more common among black communities and donations are used to treat blood disorders, such as Sickle Cell Disease, which are more likely to affect the black community. We also need to ensure blood supplies for the emergency treatment of patients with rare blood types, for example after road accidents or childbirth complications.
At the same time, black people in need of a kidney transplant spend longer waiting for an organ and far too many die before receiving the transplant they so desperately need. We need to find donors whose blood group and tissue type match the recipient and this is much more likely if they come from the same ethnic group. By registering today and saying ‘I’m on it’, you can help save lives.”
Alesha Dixon, in her support of the campaign, says:
“As a community we need to stand together and make a change to ensure anyone fighting an illness where a lifesaving donor is needed, has the chance to receive the ‘gift of life.’ If we all say #ImOnIt – this will take us closer to that becoming a reality.”
#ImOnIt calls on black and mixed race individuals to visit blood.co.uk/ImOnIt **** to register to join the blood, organ and stem cell donor registers. Alternatively, call NHS Blood and Transplant on 0300 123 23 23, quoting codes R20 when registering for blood donation and 2209 for organ donation.