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APPEAL: Gabriel wants you to be his blood donor

IN NEED: Four-year-old Gabriel

MEET GABRIEL (Gabz), a four-year-old boy who was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease, shortly after he was born in 2012. Sickle Cell Disease is the name for a group of inherited conditions that affect the red blood cells. The most serious type is called Sickle Cell Anaemia.

In the UK, Sickle Cell Disease is particularly common in people with an African or Caribbean family background. It is a serious and lifelong condition which is managed with long-term treatment which can include patients receiving blood transfusions.

In 2016, Gabriel had his first major Sickle Cell crisis (a painful episode which can be very severe for patients). He was just three years old and during the crisis, he deteriorated very quickly. Gabriel spent days barely conscious, unable to breathe unaided, taking a regular cocktail of medication – something a child so young should not have to endure.

During this time, he received multiple blood transfusions and blood exchanges, where his blood was taken out and replaced with better blood from blood donors.

Gabriel’s Mum, Edith says:

“I’m a single mum of a child whom I adore, and there is nothing I would not do for him. If I could trade places with him, I would without hesitation. The very least I can do is encourage more people to donate blood so that children and adults like Gabriel, who have long-term health conditions can get the blood transfusions they need to stay alive.

“It is important blood donors are from the same ethnic background as the patient, as most Sickle patients are African or Caribbean, so we need more donors.

“I believe we can do more; I believe we should do more. I made my first blood donation more than a decade before I had my son because I knew it was the right thing to do. I am hoping other people will feel that way too.”

Monday 19 June marks World Sickle Cell Day and young Gabriel and his mother Edith will be hosting a special blood donation clinic between 9am – 5.30pm in Central London.

Come down, meet Edith and Gabriel and have a cake or two, as the community comes together to help keep young Gabriel and many others like him alive and healthy!

Date: Monday 19th June

Time: 9am – 5.30pm

Where: West End Donor Centre, 26 Margaret Street, London, W1W 8NB

To book your appointment, please call 01923 486 880 (phone line is open 9am-7pm weekdays and 10-2pm weekends). Please let the operator know you would like to book into the ATN session on the 19 June.

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