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.


We are working with DKMS UK to encourage people to sign up to become a stem cell donor. DKMS is an international non-profit organisation with offices in the UK (opened 2013), India, operating together with our partner BMST (2019), Chile (2018), Poland (2009), the United States (2004) and Germany (1991). They have more than 8 million potential donors registered within the DKMS family and have given more than 69,000 second chances of life to people diagnosed with blood cancer. Our worldwide search for new donors continues though as many people are still not able to find the matching donor they need.

How does it work?

You need to contact DKMS UK and request a swab kit to register as a potential blood stem cell donor. More information including an informative video to dispel myths about how the stems cells are taken can be found here

Help NHS Blood & Transplant develop research

Our colleagues at NHS Blood & Transplant (NHSBT) are looking for people who would like to help them to develop research by becoming a member of their Patient and Public Advisory Group (PAG).

Members will learn about some of the exciting work that is going on in NHS Blood and Transplant research, and will have the opportunity to be involved in designing, managing and publicising research.

If you would like to find out for yourself what cutting edge research is happening in NHSBT and would like to hear more about being part of the Patient and Public Advisory Group, please follow this link. A member of the team will contact you to provide more information and to find out a bit more about your interest in research, before adding you to the PAG database.