Saracens Rugby Club have joined forces with the Sickle Cell Society and officially rebranded row ‘R’ to row ‘Ro’ to encourage their fans to become donors.
The unveiling came during the side’s fixture against Leicester Tigers, with every seat in the row coloured red, to represent the rare ‘Ro’ subtype, which is in short supply for those that need it most.
Saracens and the Sickle Cell Society have teamed up
The life-long inherited condition, which can cause excruciating pain and potentially life-threatening health issues, currently impacts approximately 175000 people in the UK. Sadly, it can cause problems such as strokes, chronic fatigue, delayed growth and progressive tissue and organ damage. However, RO – a variation of the RH-positive blood type – can have a massive impact on treating sickle cell. Currently, the NHS requires 12,000 more Black heritage donors a year.
Therefore, with the idea of helping those in need, Saracens has partnered with Sickle Cell Society, an organisation fixated on helping families affected by the disorder.
As part of their bold move to increase the number of people donating, the ‘Blood From a StoneX’ campaign, has made sure that each seat features a QR code that allows spectators to take a break from watching the rugby and donate to the Sickle Cell Society, or even step up to become a blood donator via the NHS.
In addition, fans browsing the RO seats on the Saracens website, will have the opportunity to find out more information.
Maro Itoje is thrilled that Saracens have teamed up with the Sickle Cell Society
The campaign has caught the hearts of the players, with 5x Premiership Winner, Maro Itoje, particularly invested in the success of the campaign.
He said: “I have personal experience with sickle cell, with some of my friends and family living with the disorder. I, therefore, understand the significance of the Ro subtype in our community and how important it is for those with African and Caribbean heritage to donate blood. This is not something that a rugby club usually does, so I’m proud to be part of one that is pushing boundaries to help people. I hope to encourage more blood donors from my community to give those living with the disorder a better quality of life.”
John James OBE, CEO, of the Sickle Cell Society, added: “Enabling more people to be aware of sickle cell disorder is essential in tackling the challenges that people with the condition face. This creative and unprecedented partnership with Saracens and Stone X will support us to reach new audiences and, crucially, highlight the life-saving importance of increasing the numbers of African and Caribbean heritage people regularly donating blood.”
Featured Image Credit: Saracens