Day of Action: Celebrating ‘Bloody foreigners’ contribution to Ireland’s blood banks
Dozens of Polish blood donors are coming together today (31.07.2018) to celebrate the contribution they make to Irish blood banks in a culmination of the ‘Bloody Foreigners’ campaign. The Immigrant Council of Ireland, Irish Blood Transfusion Service and Forum Polonia are behind the campaign, which has seen hundreds of Polish blood donors, new and existing, pledge to donate blood.
Stephen Cousins, Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) National Donor Services Manager, said, “We’ve been overwhelmed by the support and stories from the Polish blood donors in Ireland. From the driving instructor from Dublin, to the person in Gorey who is taking the lead in his local community helping promote and recruit other potential blood donors, and to the young Polish science graduate working in the Irish Blood Transfusion Service and encouraging others to give blood, it is clear we couldn’t do without regular donations from our Polish neighbours.
“Holding a Day of Action gives us an opportunity to celebrate existing and new donors in Ireland. There is always a need for new donors and we are delighted to welcome anyone who is able to safely give. The Polish community are the largest population group in number after Irish nationals and we have been encouraged to see new Polish donors expressing an interest in donating on foot of this campaign, which is really exciting.”
Teresa Buczkowska, Integration Coordinator, Immigrant Council of Ireland and Polish national, said, “I’m proud to be a blood donor here in Ireland and was honoured to recently receive my commemorative pin from the Irish Blood Transfusion Service for my 10th donation. More than 122,000 Polish people have made Ireland their home and it is great to know so many of them donate.
“When you get a text message telling you your blood has been used it’s an incredible feeling, you feel like you really are making an important contribution to your community. It’s very special.”
Barnaba Dorda, Chair of Forum Polonia, said, “The Bloody Foreigners campaign encouraged me to register to donate. I also got a chance to see the ‘blood journey’, where we saw in the Irish Blood Transfusion Service laboratories where donations go, how they are processed and used. It was fascinating!
“During the course of the campaign I had a chance to hear about many Polish blood donors who are already regular donors to the Irish Blood Transfusion service, many of those are my friends. Their commitment and their personal stories made me proud to see how much we have contributed already. It’s really inspiring. I will definitely become a regular donor now and am looking forward to hopefully making my first donation today after giving my sample only donation 3 months ago.”
Bloody Foreigners Day of Action
- In addition to activities on Tuesday 31 July 2018, Polish communities across Ireland are coming together to give blood as part of the campaign.
- We have Polish blood donors available to speak with the press.
- While we encourage anyone who is able to donate, this is a specific campaign focusing on the Polish community, inspired because they are the largest migrant population group in Ireland, and have a culture of contributing to their communities through blood donation.
Did you know?
- The Polish community in Ireland is approx. 122,500 people (Census 2016)
- In 2017 Irish Blood Transfusion Service had 79,000 blood donors (out of a total pop 4.77m, Census 2016)
- Out of 79,000, 1,123 of these were Polish (1.44% of total 2017 donor population) and 1,123 is approx. 1% of the total Polish population in Ireland
Pippa Woolnough, Immigrant Council of Ireland,
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 085 8640682
Notes to Editors:
Polish donors must understand and be able to be understood in English
You cannot have someone else interpret or answer questions on your behalf on clinic. The reason behind this is that you need to, as an individual, understand the questions being asked on the Health and Lifestyle questionnaire and the implications and risks to you in regards to becoming a blood donor.
The first time that a Polish person donates they will be asked to give a ‘sample only’ donation if they were born outside of Ireland.
If you have been born outside of Ireland & the UK, when you come to clinic for the first time you will be asked to give sample only – so only a small bit of blood is collected at this point and sent for testing to the IBTS labs.
Once the analysis of your sample complete the regular pre donation donor criteria will apply - see web link for information
In Ireland you can give blood every 90 days
When your clinic is next visiting your area, it has been 90 days since you last clinic visit and if any relevant deferral is complete, you will be contacted by IBTS about a week beforehand encouraging you to give blood again. Approximately 7 days before the clinic, if you are eligible, you will receive a text message (if you have opted in) reminding you about your local clinic. You will also receive a text on the day of the clinic, and may receive a special group specific text if your specific blood group is in particular short supply on the day of the clinic.
Blood lasts just 35 days
Blood for new-borns must be less than 5 days old
IBTS need 3,000 blood donations a week to keep hospitals supplied