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Kingsbury Temple celebrates 20th blood donation session

PUBLISHED: 14:22 16 March 2017 | UPDATED: 14:22 16 March 2017

(From left to right) Michelle Laserna, Mahesh Varsani, Manoj Ladwa, Trudy Redmond, Bhavesh Varsani and Amit Ghelani (Photo: NHSBT)

(From left to right) Michelle Laserna, Mahesh Varsani, Manoj Ladwa, Trudy Redmond, Bhavesh Varsani and Amit Ghelani (Photo: NHSBT)

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Dedicated blood donors from the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir joined together to celebrate reaching 2,000 blood donations which have collectively helped to save the lives of up to 6,000 people.

The Temple hosted a commemorative event on Sunday February 26 including food, drink, talks from guest speakers, and real life stories of saving lives.

Muks Rabadia, 37, the charity coordinator, from Kingsbury, has been organising blood sessions at the temple for the past 10 years. He is keen to raise awareness and motivate more young Asian people to donate blood.

Muks said: “I have been donating blood since I was 18 and have donated 54 times since then. I have been involved in actively promoting sessions at the temple since 2007.

“Sessions like these give people the opportunity to do something amazing and help to save people’s lives. Over the years we have seen regular donors encourage their friends and family to donate and it’s wonderful to know that our sessions here at the Temple have encouraged 700 new donors to start giving blood.”

Currently, despite making up 14% of the total UK population, only around 3% of donors are of black or Asian heritage. People from these communities more likely to have rare blood types, and so the NHS Blood and Transplant team stress the importance of having the right mix of blood groups available.

People from those communities are also more likely to have conditions like thalassaemia, which require regular blood transfusions. For patients with these conditions, blood from donors with a similar ethnic background gives the best match and long term outcomes.

Blood recipient Amit Ghelani, 32, from Wembley, spoke to donors, thanking them for their selfless life-saving donations. Amit has been receiving blood since he was four months old because he suffers from Beta thalassemia, which is an inherited blood disorder.

Often this can cause mild to severe anaemia and is treated with regular blood transfusions. Amit receives two units of blood every three weeks.

Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “The members of Shree Swaminarayan Temple have done an outstanding job helping us to raise awareness of blood donation within the Asian community. Working together we have recruited hundreds of new donors and helped save countless lives.

“We want to make sure we can offer all black and Asian patients the best possible chance of treatment – thalassemia patients, in particular, need ethnically matched blood to give them the best chance of staying well.

“A big thank you to the many black and Asian donors who have already come forward but there remains an urgent need for more young black and Asian people to register as blood donors to ensure we can help all of the diverse communities that we serve.”

In general, as long as you are fit and healthy, weigh over 7 stone 12 lbs (50kg) and are aged between 17 and 66 (up to 70 if you have given blood before) you should be able to give blood.

Those over 70 need to have given blood in the last two years to continue donating.

To find out more or book an appointment visit www.blood.co.uk, call 0300 123 23 23, or search for the ‘NHS Give Blood’ app.

The next session at Kingsbury Temple will take place on Sunday 18th June 2017.

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