TWO Hartlepool United stars have described the “huge importance” of giving blood – and are urging young people in the town to sign up and become donors.
Pools first team regulars Antony Sweeney and Peter Hartley are encouraging the young people in Hartlepool to help to halt the declining number of young donors in the town.
Yesterday the pair met Jack Wood, the 17-year-old from the Headland who needed six operations and four blood transfusions as he was fighting for his life after being hit by a taxi as he walked to school last year.
“Jack shows exactly how important it is to give blood,” said Peter, Pools’ captain.
“I think when you or someone who you know has been in a situation like Jack it hits home as to just how vital it is.
“I think we are all guilty of taking things for granted a little bit sometimes, and to think it takes less than an hour out of your day at a blood donor session.”
Antony, who was Pools’ top scorer last season, added: “The more people who give blood, the more lives are going to be saved.
“If young people sign up, they can find out more about it and how much of a difference they make.”
The Mail launched the Mine’s A Pint campaign after it was revealed the number of 17-24 years olds registering as donors has fallen every year since 2008.
Only 172 people signed up in Hartlepool from January to the start of December last year, and only 26 of them were in the youngest age category.
Julie Stevens, NHS Blood and Transport’s marketing co-ordinator, was delighted to have the backing of the two Pools players.
She said: “Football clubs are a huge part of the community and young people look up to football players.
“The fact that they have both come along in their spare time to back what we are doing is fantastic, I can’t thank them enough.”
People can sign up to become donors ahead of two sessions in the town next month.
A session will be held at Owton Manor Community Centre, in Wynyard Road on Monday, February 11, from 2.30pm-3.45pm. To sign up as a donor call (0300) 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk.