Latest breaking UK - calvin campbell relies on around 128 people a year to keep him alive picture metro co uk gla a man whose condition .. It takes 128 people a year to keep me alive with a very simple act , Now to the details.Calvin Campbell relies on around 128 people a year to keep him alive (Picture: Metro.co.uk/GLA)
A man whose condition leaves him in constant pain has revealed how more than 100 people help to keep him alive.
Calvin Campbell, 58, was just six months old when he was diagnosed with sickle cell disease – an inherited health condition that affects red blood cells.
As part of his treatment, he needs morphine on a daily basis and regularly receives blood to keep him from taking up a hospital bed.
That’s where the 128 volunteers come in.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk, Calvin says he wants more people of colour to donate blood.
He said: ‘Prior to me starting receiving regular [blood] exchanges, I was spending on average, eight to nine months a year, each and every single year of my life as an inpatient in hospital.
‘Then since receiving exchanges, that’s dramatically improved, I’m able to have a life, I’m able to do this job [as engagement coordinator for the NHS Blood and Transport team] and stay out of hospital.’Calvin says he’s spent more of his life in hospital than out (Picture: Calvin Campbell)
According to the NHS, it is a serious and life-long health condition, with symptoms such as painful sickle cell crises, which can be very severe and last for days or weeks, an increased risk of serious infections, and anaemia which can cause tiredness and shortness of breath.
It also disproportionately impacts people of Black Caribbean and Black African heritage and is the fastest-growing genetic blood disorder.
He said: ‘I hold an unusual record. I spent two years, eight months – and two years of that without leaving the building as an inpatient at UCLH.’
At one point he needed three units of blood every day after developing ulcers on his legs.The Mayor of London has launched a new drive to urge Londoners to donate blood (Picture: Greater London Authority)
He said: ‘I lost all the skin, most of the flesh on both legs just below the knee, down to the soles of my feet.’
But his quality of life has massively improved since he was able to start receiving blood exchanges.
He revealed just how vital it is that he continues to have access to donated blood.
Calvin said: ‘I receive 10 to 11 units of blood every three or four weeks, it’s a lot. It takes roughly 128 people to keep me alive [every year].
‘Blood donation is super important to someone like me, it means that on a day to day basis, it keeps the level of pain that I feel down to a reasonable level.
Mayor speaks to Metro.co.uk about his drive to encourage Londoners to become blood donors
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan says around 135,000 new donors are needed per year to meet demand, with donors urgently needed from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds
After giving blood at the event at City Hall on Tuesday, he told Metro.co.uk: ‘If I can do it anyone can do it, I’m a weakling. If I can not worry about giving blood, so can others.’
Khan added that in Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds communities, the ‘demand is greater than supply.’
‘When you bare in mind that a disproportionately high number of the Black Asian and Minority Ethnic communities live in London, I think we’ve got a responsibility to support the rest of the country.
‘Only 5% of donors across the country are Black Asian and Minority Ethnic, and I want London to give more to support other parts of the country.’
The Mayor has called upon Black Londoners to read Metro.co.uk, give blood, and become blood donors: ‘Once you’ve given it, once you give it more… speak to your friends, families, work colleagues… we’ll never have too much blood.’
‘I’m still aware of it, but it’s manageable and it keeps me alive, to be honest, it’s that simple.’
Around 135,000 new donors are needed per year to meet demand, with donors urgently needed from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.
It’s currently estimated that only 4% of donations are made up of people from these communities.
This is despite sickle cell being the country’s most prevalent and fastest growing genetic blood disorder.
There has been a rise in demand for some rare blood types, such as Ro, which is most often needed by patients with sickle cell.
What is sickle cell disease?
Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a rare condition that affects haemoglobin, a protein carried by red blood cells that delivers oxygen throughout the body.
It is a lifelong blood disorder that occurs when a person inherits sickle cell genes from both parents.
Healthy red blood cells are disc-shaped and flexible so that they can move easily through the blood vessels and carry oxygen to vital organs.
However, in people with SCD red blood cells lose their flexibility and become rigid, sticky and crescent or sickle shaped. The sickling process causes the breakdown of red blood cells, which leads to haemolytic anaemia (low haemoglobin and low oxygen delivery in the body due to red blood cell destruction).
The sickled red blood cells can damage blood vessel walls, resulting in vasculopathy (lesions occurring in small blood vessels), and this in combination with the sickled cells, causes blockages in capillaries and small blood vessels, causing pain and impeding the flow of blood and supply of oxygen throughout the body.
Patients with SCD experience progressive, lifelong complications and severe morbidity, including damage to major organs such as the liver, kidneys, lungs, heart and brain, which contributes to early death and can erode the potential of patients and their families.
Black heritage donors are 10 times more likely to have the Ro subtype
Describing the process, Calvin added: ‘It’s painless, giving blood takes around 15 minutes, and the whole process lasts 45 minutes tops from start to finish.
‘Each unit you donate, which is an average sized bottle of water saves at least three adults’ lives – it’s that simple.
‘Men can donate four times, and women three times a year. You can continue to donate now until the end of your life and it doesn’t cost you anything – it’s free.’
How to donate blood
Blood.co.uk says you should firstly check you are able to give blood before registering your interest in being a donor online, or via calling 0300 123 23 23.
Log in to your online account and find an appointment – a number of appointments can be booked in advance. If you are unable to book now, then please try for a later date. A limited number of walk-in slots are available.
You should then follow the preparing to give blood recommendations.
If you are unable to keep your donation appointment, give at least 3 days’ notice – you can easily cancel or reschedule your appointment online.
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