Missing Type campaign comes at right time for new blood donor

By Martin Johnston

Natasha Rickit became a blood donor after seeing the Missing Type campaign. Photo / Stephanie Hamilton
Natasha Rickit became a blood donor after seeing the Missing Type campaign. Photo / Stephanie Hamilton

The time was right for Natasha Rickit to become a blood donor for the first time in her life.

She had seen the need in her 3-year-old niece Adelaide Ketel, and then the Missing Type campaign caught her interest.

"Adelaide has cancer and she's had several surgeries and transfusions. I became aware of the considerable need for blood," said Natasha, who has two daughters of her own, aged 5 and 10.

Adelaide's cancer is a rare type. From Nelson, she has had a tumour removed from her chest and ongoing treatment.

Adelaide Ketel's cancer treatment and blood transfusions helped prompt her aunt Natasha Rickit to become a blood donor. Photo / supplied.
Adelaide Ketel's cancer treatment and blood transfusions helped prompt her aunt Natasha Rickit to become a blood donor. Photo / supplied.

Natasha, 40, of Mt Albert in Auckland, is among more than 6000 first-timers to sign up with the Blood Service since its campaign in August.

"I got a few emails, I think they were New World emails, and they had As and Os missing. I saw it in a few different places, which prompted me to do it. I thought it was quite a clever campaign."

The Herald was part of the campaign that involved dropping Os and As from online branding, logos and social media accounts to draw attention to the need for O-type and A-type blood donors.

Starting out with 48 partners, the NZ Blood Service campaign to encourage people to become first-time donors grew to include more than 80 companies.

The campaign ran in 21 countries and in New Zealand it focused on blood types A and O because they are the ones most in demand here.

Natasha, who studies craniosacral therapy, said that giving blood was "one of those things that had been floating around in the back of my mind that I should do".

When younger she was too light. Donors must be at least 50kg and Natasha now weighs 53kg. Pregnancy and breast feeding also barred her for some time.

The Blood Service national manager of marketing and communications, Asuka Burge, said having registered more than 6000 people to become donors since the campaign began was "a great result and pretty amazing, particularly when you consider these new donors have the potential to save up to 18,000 lives across New Zealand".

"The need for new donors is constant and while the campaign might be over, NZ Blood Service would like more New Zealanders to consider becoming blood donors.

"We set ourselves the ambitious goal of gaining 10,000 first-time donors. While there is some work to do to reach that figure, we are confident we will reach this milestone very soon."

- NZ Herald

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