Churches join new NHS-backed organ and blood donation drive

By agency reporter
January 28, 2013

A groundbreaking new campaign calling on churches to increase the number of blood and organ donors in the UK has been launched today.

Founded as a two-year partnership between creative agency KORE and NHS Blood and Transplant, the initiative aims to profile the need for more blood and organ donors and encourage donation as an alternative way of personal giving within churches.

Sponsored by Give.net and in association with denominations, organisations and festivals including the Church of England, Salvation Army, Methodist church, United Reformed Church, Baptist Union, Hope and Evangelical Alliance, the fleshandblood campaign marks the first time the NHS has worked alongside the church on a national initiative of this kind.

Lorna Williamson, Medical Director of NHSBT, Commented: “All major faith groups support donation in the spirit of giving and we’re excited to explore this in more detail by working with the Christian Church."

She added: "By raising awareness amongst its members and community about the daily need for blood transfusions and organ transplants across the NHS, we hope to banish myths, educate people and encourage blood and organ donation. Donating blood, joining the Organ Donor Register, or consenting to organ donation from a deceased loved one is a unique gift and one that can truly save lives.”

Every day 7,000 units of blood are needed to meet hospital demand, with approximately 225,000 extra blood donors needed each year to maintain consistency. More than 1,000 people die each year in the UK waiting for an organ transplant.

Churches have millions of people across the country as members or contacts, and are therefore ideally placed to raise awareness and help to meet the need for blood and organ donation in the UK, say campaign organisers.

The fleshandblood campaign seeks to equip individuals and churches as advocates for blood and organ donation enabling them to raise awareness of this key issue with their family, friends and communities.

The Rt Rev James Newcome, who leads on healthcare for the Church of England said, “fleshandblood is an exciting opportunity for the church. Christians have a mandate to heal, motivated by compassion, mercy, knowledge and ability. Extending our understanding of the central Christian themes of generosity and stewardship to include blood and organ donation has the potential to tangibly transform the giver and the receiver. The benefit to others is not only life enhancing but can mean the difference between life and death.”

Each associate in the campaign commits to raising the profile of blood and organ donation and highlighting the various ways that individuals and groups can get involved at a local level.

Bishop Newcome added: “I would encourage individual Christians and local churches to engage with the campaign as we help address an important social issue and generously serve the communities to which we belong. Being willing to give our time, money and gifts is a significant aspect of our stewardship of what we have received. But this applies just as much to the blood that flows in our veins; and the organs that are such an intrinsic part of our bodies.”

* For more information about the campaign visit: fleshandblood.org or contact info@fleshandblood.org

* Twitter: @fleshandblood

* Facebook: fleshandblooduk

* More about Fleshandblood on Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/fleshandblood

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