1 in 4 will need a blood transfusion - Westlife lends support as IBTS launches Blood for Life Week 19-25th September 2004

Boy band Westlife took a break recently from their hectic recording schedule to lend their support to the Blood for Life Week 2004 campaign, which was officially launched today (Thursday). (See pictures sent to picture editors, via Maxwells).

Shane, Nicky, Kian and Mark donned the Irish Blood Transfusion Service 'Give Blood for Life' T-shirts, in a bid to raise public awareness about the importance of donating regularly.

"There are four of us in the group, and one of us could require a transfusion at sometime in our lives. You never know when you, a relative or a friend might need it, so we are supporting blood for life week and we hope you will too."

The aim of the Blood for Life Week campaign, is to increase public awareness about blood donation and encourage people to become regular donors. Announcing details of Blood for Life Week at the launch party at the Westin Hotel, IBTS Chief Executive Andrew Kelly said that that the importance of blood donation was reinforced by the message that 1 in 4 will need a blood transfusion. "You never know when you, a relative or a friend will be depending on the commitment of donors."

A host of other Irish celebrities joined Westlife by lending their support for the campaign. Members of the Irish Soccer Squad lined out for a photoshoot and have been spotted on billboards nationwide since the 6th of September. Sharon Ní Bheoláin, Newscaster, continues to act as an Ambassador and has recorded a special national radio ad for the week. Seven Today FM DJ's all recorded adverts, encouraging the public to make that commitment and become regular donors. A new TV advert that was recorded thanks to TV3, will commence airing during Blood for Life Week.

Blood for Life Week 2004 is also marked on a local level and the following Irish celebrities focused on their regional province to mark the campaign. DJ Carey recorded a special radio advert for the Southeast region and attended a photoshoot in Thomastown County Kilkenny recently to show his support for this year's campaign. The man that has brought the Mayo team to the all-Ireland football final, John Maughan, recorded a radio advert for the Connaught area. The first Irishwoman to climb Mount Everest, Dr Claire O'Leary can be heard on many Munster radio stations throughout the week, after she recorded a special Blood for Life Week radio advert.

A new range of promotional merchandise will also be distributed to donors at clinics during Blood for Life Week, this includes mugs, stress balls, new car stickers, car air fresheners and keyrings.

The awareness week is supported by TV3, Today FM and Vodafone. As part of this year's campaign, these are just some of the activities that are being held throughout the country:

Thursday 16thSeptember:

Blood for Life Week launched at Westin Hotel, Dublin.

Friday 17thSeptember:

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service have kindly donated 2 specially framed Blood Transfusion signed Polo-shirts along with photograph, from Westlife and members of the Irish soccer squad, to the Keith Duffy Charity Golf Classic. These will be auctioned and monies raised will go towards a number of charities supporting autism and the Marie Keating Foundation.

Sunday 19thSeptember:

Donor Awards Ceremony, Cork, IBTS Chairperson Maura McGrath will attend the donor awards ceremony in Cork and make the presentations. The Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Tony Fitzgerald will also attend.

Monday 20th September:

Today FM will have live links at the D'Olier Street Blood Donation Clinic, Dublin during the Phil Cawley show.

The IBTS will hold a blood donation clinic at Vodafone headquarters, Leopardstown, Dublin.

Fleet Street broadcast in Castletownbere Co Cork by 96/103FM

A week long competition will commence on Ireland AM in association with Vodafone as part of the launch of the texting donor service that Vodafone provide on behalf of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service. Vodafone have kindly sponsored 2 premium tickets for the Football All Ireland on Sunday 26th of September, along with daily prizes of Vodafone mobile phones.

Also, a week long competition will commence on Today FM (Phil Cawley Show). Randles Hotel in Killarney, in association with the Irish Blood Transfusion Service, have kindly sponsored daily prizes of weekend away vouchers for one of their hotels, for 2 people.

Also throughout the week, local radio stations will have prizes of vouchers for weekends away, dinners for two and mid week specials for hotels around Ireland, kindly sponsored by various hotels nationwide.

Tuesday 21stSeptember:

Donor Awards ceremony, Moran's Hotel, Dublin.

Fleet Street broadcast in Bantry Co Cork by 96/103FM

Wednesday 22nd September:

"Ferrying Awards ceremony" in recognition of companies participating in the Ferry Programme will be held in the afternoon at the National Blood Centre, Dublin.

Limerick Live 95 will join donors and have live links to the station, at a clinic in St Johns Pavilion, Mulgrave St, Limerick.

Thursday 23rdSeptember

"Platelets Awareness Day" – information stands at clinics in the Dublin area on platelet donation.

The Education Awareness Programme to be officially launched.

Kerry Radio will broadcast from the Kenmare Clinic.

Friday 24thSeptember

Donor Awards Ceremony in Limerick.