Have you noticed any letters missing in magazines, newspapers or pamphlets lately? Maybe, or maybe not – but if you have noticed, and you’ve been wondering why, here’s your answers.
The Missing Type Campaign was launched last year during National Blood Week by NHS Blood and Transplant, and it aims to encourage those who haven’t already signed up to donate blood to do so. Along with that main aim, the Missing Type Campaign aims to reverse the decline in new blood donors as there has been a 40% drop in new donors in the last ten years.
2015’s campaign aimed to bring in 204,000 new donors to replace those who donated before, but no longer can, to ensure a mix of different blood groups from donors. But why the missing letter?
Well, the message behind the Missing Type campaign is that you will not miss your blood when you give it, but patients who need it will miss it when you don’t. As such, campaigners asked
to remove A’s, B’s and O’s (the letters of the blood groups) from twitter handles, signage and websites without explaining why, and then revealed that the letters had gone missing to highlight the need for new donors. This took place in both online and print media alike, and reached a total of 347,619,784 people last year.
Last years’ campaign resulted in a whopping 30,000 people registering to donate, thanks to the influence and support of companies, charities and blood
donors. The Missing Type Campaign gave thanks to companies like Game, Now TV, Waterstones, Odeon, Nandos and Trinity Mirror in particular.
This year’s blood week and Missing Type Campaign was a huge success, with over 30 companies in Scotland supporting this global awareness campaign for giving blood and knowing your own blood group – did you know that only 38% of Scottish people know their blood type?
23 different blood services around the world joined Missing Type this year, and they’re all aiming to highlight the importance of the four main blood groups, A, B, O and AB.
TSA was one of 30 organisations to remove the letters A, O and B from signage and social media posts. Usually, only 30 new donors register per day, but thanks to different companies raising awareness, over 30 days nearly 800 new donors registered!
Campaigners delivered presentations to 190 schools nationally, targeting 17 year olds and those in their final academic year. 103 of these schools were in Glasgow, and 51 were in Edinburgh. As a result, 3,444 17 year olds gave their first pint of blood in Scotland. The campaign is now encouraging those at university and college to come back and give their second pint.
Visiting universities and colleges in Glasgow also resulted in 500 new donors. Now, students are encouraged to visit donor centres, which are right next to several universities and colleges, and are also open six days a week. As the campaign is global, even New Zealand has been affected positively, and the New Zealand Herald reported “amazing support” for the campaign which resulted in more than 2,000 new donors registering in just 10 days.
The New Zealand Herald had also participated in the campaign, and dropped A’s and O’s from online branding, social media and logos to raise awareness for the need of A-types and O-types. 62 countries collect 100% of their blood supply from voluntary, unpaid donors, reported the World Health Organisation (WHO), and 108 blood donations are collected globally, half of these coming from high income countries.
Only 4% of the Scottish population donates blood, and we are in desperate need of young donors who can take the baton from older donors who can no longer donate. Donating a pint of blood might make you feel a bit queasy, but it can go such a long way for someone in need for it.
At the end of the day, registering to donate blood and actually doing it may seem small, but it’s actually extremely heroic. And, you get free chocolate after you donate!
Other things you might not have known about blood donation ..
One in four people will need a blood transfer at some point in their lives however only four percent of people in Scotland donate.
O positive blood is the most common blood group in Scotland, 41.8% of the population have it. However, O Negative blood is the only blood group that can safely be given to almost anyone in an emergency but only nine percent of people in Scotland have this ‘universal blood group’.
Awaiting medical test results is the number one reason why people are unable to give blood when they attend a session. There are other reasons why you may not be able to donate, such as having had a tattoo or piercing in the last 12 months or travelling to some locations outside the UK, but these will be discussed at your donation appointment or you can check before you go on the Scotblood website.
When you give one pint of blood it can actually save up to three lives as the donation is split into three parts; red blood cells, which are used to treat anemia and replace blood lost as result of an accident; platelets, which are used to treat problems with bone marrow, such as leukemia or blood clotting disorders; and plasma which is used to treat conditions where large volumes of blood have been lost or conditions where abnormal clotting causes bleeding, such as liver disease.
The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service needs 600 donors per day and aims to keep six days worth of each blood type in stock at all times. However, although fresh frozen plasma can live for up to two years, blood only has a shelf life of 35 days and platelets can only be used for up to five days. This is why it’s so important to have as many blood donors as possible to keep stock levels high.
Although 96% of new blood donors are under 55, younger donors often don’t continue to give blood. This means the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service relies on donors over 55 to make sure there is enough blood in stock for patients.
You can check the Scotblood website and view the current levels of stock for each blood type, if your blood bag volume is low it means donations of your blood type are so important, checking this is a great incentive to head along to one of the blood donor centres and donate.
Just like us, injured and sick animals also require blood transfusions which means that your furry friend could also be a potential donor. The pet blood bank is always in need of new donors to help keep up it’s supply of blood which vets across the country use to treat animals. If you’re dogs between one and eight years old, over 25kg, has never been abroad, never had a blood transfusion and is up to date on their vaccinations, they may be able to donate and help other animals. Head to the pet blood bank website to find a nearby donation service.