Donate blood and stem cells Most people with bone marrow failure will need blood transfusions at some point during their treatment so blood donors are literally life-savers! Why blood donations are vital The blood's main components are red cells, plasma and platelets. After donation, blood is usually separated into its individual components, so a patient can be given the particular part they need. They have a short shelf life, so it is vital that a regular supply is maintained through volunteer donors: red blood cells can be stored for up to 35 days platelets can be stored for up to 7 days plasma can be stored for up to 3 years To find out whether you are eligible to give blood, visit the NHS Blood & Transplant website. If you live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland click on the relevant link which will take you to the relevant page. Join the British Bone Marrow Registry Aged between 17 and 40? Then another way that you can help patients with bone marrow failure is to join the British Bone Marrow Registry. Most people on the registry already give blood, so next time you are donating blood, why not mention to the staff that you would like to join the registry too? They will take an extra blood sample and your tissue type will be logged on a confidential register. Donors in Wales should follow this link.