As the nation gets ready for the FIFA World Cup, ex-England midfielder Paul Ince has teamed up with NHS Blood and Transport to encourage men to ‘bleed for their country’, by highlighting the need for 25,000 new male donors.
Ince, who famously bled for England during the 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, is calling for more men to step forward and do as much as they can off the pitch, by donating blood to help save lives.
England’s former football captain is supporting NHS Blood and Transplant because two thirds of all new donors are women, but there is a need for 25,000 new male registrants, as men’s blood is particularly useful to make plasma and platelets used to stop bleeding after injury or surgery.
The “Guv’nor” led England to qualify for the 1998 FIFA World Cup against Italy by securing the point they needed, with Ince playing more than half of the game with his head bandaged and shirt bloodied following an injury on the pitch.
Ince said of the match, which they drew 0-0: “That game was so important and despite needing stitches, I knew nothing would make me leave the pitch, I was willing to do anything I could for my country and now I’m asking people to do the same.
“Each donation can save or improve the lives of up to three seriously ill people. It can’t be overemphasised how important each new donor is, where over 6,000 blood donations are required daily to keep the nation pumping. Therefore, please support your country in a way that can make you the heroes off the pitch this World Cup. I bled for the team, now it is your turn.”
Mike Stredder, director of blood donation at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “With 26 million men in England, and Paul Ince recreating his heroics for the country, we hope that 25,000 new male donors is a realistic goal.
“To meet all of our patients’ needs at all times, we need 700 new donors every day to follow the former England captain’s lead and bleed for their team. Our campaign is about saving lives and each donation is a precious and generous gift.
“There is a particular need for O negative and B negative donors as these are vulnerable blood groups that often run low on stocks at various times of the year, so any men who know they have one of these blood groups please do come forward to donate.”
The campaign hopes to build on the 160,000 men who came forward in the last year. 250,000 new blood donors are required each year to replace those who can no longer donate.
New donors can visit www.blood.co.uk to find out if you can donate, register as a donor and book an appointment at your local donor centre.