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Brecon runner calls on the running community to save lives by giving blood

A female runner from Brecon is calling on running communities across Wales to donate blood after her father received blood donations during his battle with cancer.

A devoted blood donor and runner, Helen Kendrick has given blood for two decades, making over 20 blood donations. Now Helen is supporting ‘Giving Runs in Your Blood’, a campaign from the Welsh Blood Service, Welsh Athletics and Run 4 Wales aiming to inspire runners to become lifesavers by giving blood.

Helen’s plans to run the Cardiff Half Marathon were put on hold while she supported her father, who began receiving blood transfusions after being diagnosed with cancer. Four years on, Helen plans to run her first half marathon in her father’s memory.

Helen, 45, said: “Dad unfortunately had myelodysplasia, which is a type of blood cancer. Thanks to the kindness of blood donors, we spent precious extra time with my dad, something we as a family will always be so grateful for. As a family, we know just how important giving blood is and the difference it makes at a really challenging time.

Helen Kendrick

“Donating blood is quick, easy, and can quite literally save someone’s life. Your first blood donation might be daunting, but the Welsh Blood Service nurses always create a relaxed environment for donors.

“You don’t know what’s around the corner, so for as long as I am fit and able, I will donate blood. We can all do it. It doesn’t cost a thing except for our time, and we are lucky to have that.”

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Every day patients rely on the generosity of others to provide around 350 blood donations with the Welsh Blood Service. To help meet this target, the running community is being urged to promote the importance of donating by running ‘heart-shaped’ routes and booking their own blood donation through the new campaign.

Helen added: “I’m hoping by sharing my story it will inspire others to consider donating. You don’t realise how important it is until you or someone you love needs it.”

Giving blood is considered an essential service and donation sessions have continued across Wales throughout the pandemic with additional safety measures introduced to meet Welsh Government guidance for donors attending.

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