A nationwide blood donation campaign entitled ‘Bonded by Blood: A Mothers Story’ has been launched in memory of sickle cell patient Richard Okorogheye.
Backed by mother of Richard, Evidence Joel and created by a group of Black health charities including ACLT (African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust), and community organisations Unsickle My Cells (CIC) and SickleKan, with support from NHS Blood and Transplant.
The campaign will focus on amplifying the need for more blood donors of Black heritage to step forward, during two important dates in the Black British calendar, World Sickle Cell Awareness Month and Black History Month, encouraging Black people to book a blood donation appointment at a series of special sessions held over three consecutive weekends between 26th September – 10th October 2021.
Bonded by Blood: A Mother’s Story will centre around encouraging new and current blood donors of Black heritage to donate in memory of Richard, the 19-year-old who was living with sickle cell and who went missing from his home in Ladbroke Grove in March of this year. Tragically, Richard’s body was found 20 miles away in Epping Forest, Essex, two weeks after he was reported missing.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Richard had been shielding due to living with sickle cell disorder. As someone who regularly received regular blood transfusions his story is one which rocked the British Black community, with many individuals from the sickle cell community voicing their sadness of how Richard story had, an effect on them.
The campaign will share the stories of mothers with children who receive regular blood transfusions as well as stories from mothers whose children were blood recipients but have sadly passed away.
On March 22nd, 19-year-old Richard Okorogheye, went missing from his home in Ladbroke Grove.
Two weeks later, Richard’s body was found 20 miles away in Epping Forest, Essex.
Richard had been shielding throughout the coronavirus pandemic because he had sickle cell disease. He was a regular recipient of blood transfusions and only left the house during the pandemic to visit the hospital to receive blood transfusions.
Richard’s mother Evidence Joel said:
“Blood donation campaigns like Bonded by Blood are incredibly important to encourage existing blood donors to donate regularly and new blood donors to consider donating, particularly within the Black community – to help the lives of sickle cell patients and others who require blood transfusions and exchanges to maintain and save their life.
I am grateful for the Bonded by Blood organisations coming together to do something positive in the name of my son Richard. He had a bright future ahead of him. It is my hope his legacy will be that of his name encouraging people from the Black community to support each other by doing something so amazing such as giving blood.”
To register to donate blood and attend the Bonded by Blood: A Mothers Story blood donation sessions, individuals should call the priority booking line on 0300 303 2805. Alternatively CLICK HERE where people can visit and complete the pre-booking form.