NHS campaign asks Christians to give blood
A new NHS campaign is being launched today asking the church to increase the number of blood and organ donors in the UK.
The Fleshandblood campaign is sponsored by Give.net and has the support of the Church of England, The Salvation Army, Methodist Church, United Reformed Church, Baptist Union, Hope and the Evangelical Alliance.
Christians will be encouraged to donate blood regularly as part of their personal giving within churches.
Lorna Williamson, Medical Director of NHS Blood and Transplant says, "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.
"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."
The NHS needs 7,000 units of blood each day to meet the demand of hospitals. The need for organs also outstrips availability with more than a thousand people dying each year in the UK waiting for an organ transplant.
With millions of members across the UK, it is hoped churches can step in to fill the gap.
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The campaign is the first time the NHS has worked alongside the churches on a national initiative of this kind.
Churches and individuals will have the opportunity to become blood and organ donation advocates, playing an active role in informing congregations, family, friends and their communities about how they can help save more lives.
The Reverend Dr Martyn Atkins, General Secretary of the Methodist Church, said: "It is impossible to overstate the vital importance of blood and organ donation.
"Quite simply, without such generous sacrifices, many in Britain would not enjoy the health they have, or even survive.
"Many of us know and cherish a person who's life has been transformed through the life-giving gifts donated to them.
"I believe that God calls us all to live generously with all that we are and all that we have.
"Blood donation especially is a simple but precious way that many people can fulfil that calling."