Could you be a lifesaver?
Earthing Services is committed to supporting the communities which help make it successful and what could be more important than the health of the community? The National Health Service is a defining asset of the United Kingdom and it is one of the many aspects that make the company proud to be British. Two aspects of the National Health Service that Earthing Services would like to draw specific attention to are the National Blood Service and the Organ Donor Register.
The NHS “donor” schemes help to save lives through transfusions and transplants every day, and by supporting them you too can change the outcome for many people in critical conditions. Sean Elliott-Maher (Earthing Services LLP Partner – Strategy & Communications) is both a blood donor and on the Organ Donor Register, “NHS Blood and Transplant does vitally important work and I think the organisation is one of the unsung heroes of the NHS. In my family becoming a blood donor is regarded as a rite of passage so I became a blood donor as soon as I was able to, although I can’t remember if that was my decision or my mum’s! In all seriousness I think it’s a great little family tradition because becoming an adult means taking responsibility for yourself and the impact and influence you have on the world and being a blood donor saves lives and keeps communities together, it’s that simple.
“Blood donations do not take long to complete, and despite the gentle warnings of the donor care team the process does not really cause any discomfort worthy of mentioning; the small inconvenience is totally outweighed by the huge impact you can have on someone’s life, so if you are eligible to donate I urge you to contact NHS Blood and Transplant or visit one of the donation sessions, get involved and save lives. There are lots of resources to find out how the sessions run and what it’s like so potential donors should review this.”
Whilst Sean has been a whole blood donor for a decade he has recently become a platelet donor, “During a regular blood donation I was asked if I would be prepared to become a platelet donor. I asked what the difference was, and I was advised that platelets are a componant of the blood that helps with clotting. They can be donated more regularly than whole blood, and that it can be used to help people with specific conditions like cancer, in many cases where bone marrow transplants are unavailable or not a medically viable option; the only other issue that was raised was that it would take a longer time commitment per donation due to the method of collection. I said that if I could help more people that way, if that was the best way NHS Blood and Transplant could use my donations then I was happy to go along with it. The next time I was called to donate a few extra test vials were taken, after an assessment of my veins to see if I would be a suitable candidate for platelet donation. A few weeks later I was notified that I had been approved as a platelet donor and as such could begin attending sessions. Becoming a platelet donor has enabled me to give people a chance they might not have had, nothing feels better than that.”
The issue of organ and tissue donation can be upsetting for some people, but Sean does not think it should be a taboo subject, “I acknowledge that many people do not like to talk about it, and I am not in the habit of upsetting anyone, but the fact is that being silent on this issue could result in people needlessly dying when their lives could have been saved if only people would talk openly about their position on this subject. I have stated as long as anyone has cared to ask that as far as I am concerned when my life is over I truly hope that my organs and tissue could help keep other people alive, somehow, at least to me, that some how gives the event almost a purpose and something meaningful to leave behind and live on.”
Calum Heath, the Managing Partner of Earthing Services commented, “The death of my mother made me more aware of the lives of those around me, so anything I can do to help keep people around for others will never be too much to ask. I really hope that people recognise the massive importance of donating blood whilst they can throughout their lives, and then organ and tissue donation at the end of their lives, and if we can help remind people of that then I am pleased that we could help, and Earthing Services is just so enormously proud of the fantastic NHS teams who turn donations into saved lives; I want to say thank you so much for everything that you do.”
When Calum first donated he took the time to bring a friend along, being David Clarke star British Forward of the Nottingham Panthers. Heath explained, “Clarkey is a special guy, a great friend, and when it comes to a good cause he is the first to sacrifice his time to help. When we approached the club, and then Clarkey we knew that he would be up for it, and we knew that they would too because they run a classy organisation. David Clarke brought a lot of attention to the importance of blood donation and we were pleased to have been alongside him.”
Earthing Services operates internationally and fosters a multi-cultural approach to its business operations and feels it is incredibly important to draw attention to National Blood Service’s VIP Campaign. It is a fact that the majority of UK donors are Caucasian and this over-representation can have an adverse effect on the Blood Stock when communities that rely on it are more ethnically diverse. It is important to have a good representation of all ethnic groups, which helps to boost stocks of rarer blood types which are more commonly found in donors from Asian and African/Caribbean backgrounds; for example 25% of south Asian communities are blood group B, whereas only 9% of Caucasians have that blood type, and U negative is only found amongst people of African and Caribbean descent. On a daily basis about 200 people from African/Caribbean and south Asian communities donate blood, but demand far exceeds this; as many as 7000 donors a day are required to meet demand. Some patients need regular transfusions due to common conditions within the Asian and African/Caribbean communities such as Sickle Cell Anaemia or Thalassaemia as blood needs to be matched for transfusions and if the blood stock is insufficient then patient care is impacted, and people suffer. That is why Earthing Services backs NHS Blood and Transplant in their VIP campaign, which encourages people from BME backgrounds to get involved and help bolster the blood, organ and tissue stock and in turn save lives.
Travel can impact upon your ability to donate blood due to the potential exposure to health conditions and it is always important to check with NHS Blood and Transplant prior to attending a donation to ensure that you are still eligible to donate. Many members of Earthing Services Group staff have to travel frequently to a range of countries and occasionally this does result in temporary ineligibility for blood donations. In July of 2010 Sean Elliott-Maher and Earthing Services Senior Technical Partner, John Maher, travelled to the Gambia to conduct training for Gamtel, the Gambia Telecommunications Company, which resulted in Sean being unable to donate for a number of months. “I was disappointed if I’m honest. Do not get me wrong, the acceptance criteria are in place to protect donors and the blood stock alike, but I just felt like that there were people I could be helping but was unable to. Helping out the great guys at Gamtel was important, and I know that we made a big difference there so on the balance I am absolutely certain that travelling and helping was more important on that occasion, but it taught me to always assess the importance of the travel against the potential consequences.”
Calum Heath stated, “Whilst we are not in the business of forcing our staff to donate blood, after all it is a personal choice, we do make sure that all of our staff members are aware of the importance of blood and organ donation and the life changing effects that it has, and we do bring the VIP campaign to the team’s attention. We need to do more as a company to encourage our staff and families to donate, but I hope that what we have done, and will continue to do, in support of NHS Blood and Transplant and their campaigns helps to drive the point home to all the people our company interacts with and in turn gets more people to donate.”
Sean Elliott-Maher continued from Calum’s comment, “I have always encouraged people to become donors because you never know when you, or one of your loved ones, may need to rely on the NHS blood stock or an organ donation, and I do not think it’s reasonable to expect someone else to donate so you do not have to. We are talking about a genuine life or death issue; people could die if you do not donate – it isn’t always about disappearing into a multitude or statistic, you can help save lives or not and for me that’s not a choice, you just do it. I have been lucky enough to meet people who have survived terrible injuries and illnesses due to blood transfusions or transplants, and I know that the world is a happier and better place because the blood and organs were there to keep them with us. It doesn’t matter that you will probably never meet the person who you have specifically helped, and in a way that’s better because by joining in you are contributing to the blood stock and the Organ Donor Register that helps everyone. Earthing Services is happy to do what it can to help provide information about how to become a blood donor or organ donor. Do not wait for something or someone to show you the face of people in desperate need – get involved now and start saving people because you will never be able to appease the memory of someone you wished you could have helped.
The following messages have been provided by the NHS and the Earthing Services Communications team would be very grateful if you would take a few moments to read them, and think about the difference that you could make.
Everyday, blood enables doctors to save the lives of patients in emergencies; to help mothers and premature babies survive childbirth; to help patients beat certain cancers; and to make planned operations possible. But blood is only there if people give it… People like you!
The National Blood Service needs to collect 7,000 donations of blood a day to ensure patients get the lifesaving treatments that they need; Nottinghamshire hospitals alone use around 800 every week!
Giving blood is much easier than most people think. Just pop along to your nearest session or call to book your appointment; the donation itself only takes around 10 minutes and in this time you can help save or improve the lives of up to 3 people! Where else can you save a life and get a cup of tea as well?
Most people can become donors as long as they are between their 17th and 65th birthday, weigh more than 50kg (7 stone 12 lbs) and are in general good health. For more information, to find your nearest venue, or to register, please call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk.”
Transplants are one of the most miraculous achievements of modern medicine. Lives are saved or transformed by an organ transplant thanks to the generosity of people who agreed to donate their organs. However 1,000 people die each year while waiting, because there are not enough organs available.
Joining the Organ Donor Register is the only secure way to record your wishes to save someone’s life after your death.
By encouraging more people to register – and telling those close to them about their decision – more lives can be saved.