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Runners unite to potentially save over 700 lives

Amateur and professional runners across Wales are encouraging people to help patients in need by donating blood, platelets or bone marrow with the Welsh Blood Service as part of its #GivingRunsInYourBlood campaign.

The campaign, launched with two of the most prominent national running organisations, Run 4 Wales and Welsh Athletics, is making a difference to hundreds of lives across Wales.

Running clubs from Anglesey to Flintshire, and Chepstow to Cardigan have been running heart-shaped routes, donating, and sharing stories about the difference donating has made to people in need.

Heart running route - Swansea
Heart running route - Bala
Heart running route - Bangor
Heart running route - Cardiff
Heart running route - Newport
Heart running route - Bridgend

Run your route

Whether you’re a veteran at your local running club or just digging your trainers out of the back of the cupboard, get involved by following one of our heart-shaped routes, spread across several Welsh communities, and by coming along to your nearest blood donation session.

Former patient and Cowbridge Moovers runner Gethin Charles experienced the benefits of blood donation first-hand, receiving over 30 units of red cells and platelets. The 46-year-old from Cowbridge was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia last year, a rare and serious blood disorder affecting around 150 people each year in the UK.

Gethin said: “It’s really important for people to donate because you’ll never know when you or your family will need it. “I never thought I’d be in this position where I need to receive blood and blood products. It all happened so fast. “I’m so glad there are people that have donated as it’s made my life more comfortable getting the treatment I need to cure the disease.”

Gethin Charles

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Blood and its by-products play a vital role in saving lives each day, with donations helping patients in accidents or emergencies, patients having organ transplants, leukaemia and cancer patients, and mothers and babies during childbirth.

Welsh Athletics Chief Executive James Williams said: “The #GivingRunsInYourBlood campaign has encouraged running clubs and runners across Wales to really make a difference by getting involved.

“We’re delighted that our community partnership with the Welsh Blood Service has helped to potentially save over 700 lives.”

“It has shown real spirit across the running community and beyond.”

As post-pandemic restrictions continue to ease, runners have also celebrated the return of competitive events, including the Welsh Athletics’ Senior Championships and Run4Wales’ Cardiff Half Marathon.

Run4Wales Chief Executive, Matt Newman, commented: “With the return of more events across Wales, we hope the campaign will continue to grow and inspire many more to become lifesavers.

“We’re passionate about the health and wellbeing of the nation, so it’s great to see hundreds of runners inspired by the #GivingRunsInYourBlood campaign and stepped forward as donors or supporters.”

Run4Wales Chief Executive, Matt Newman

Every day the Welsh Blood Service must collect 350 blood donations to supply our 20 hospitals with enough blood for patients.

Speaking about the partnership, Alan Prosser, Welsh Blood Service Director, said: “Thanks to the support from the running community, we’ve been able to maintain blood stocks at hospitals at a crucial time in the Service’s history.

“We are incredibly grateful to people like Gethin, the clubs and all the athletes for supporting us and we’re excited to see how the partnership will develop in the future.

With 1,300 donation sessions at over 100 different venues across Wales each year, there are plenty of opportunities for people to find their nearest session and make a difference.

Alan continued: “If you’ve never given blood before, now is a great time to try.”

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