THERE are two Archbishops of Armagh - one
Church of Ireland, and the other Roman Catholic - and this
Christmas they joined together in their Christmas message to say
that life is a gift, and that among the most valuable gifts anyone
can give is blood, or an organ.
The Most Revd Richard Clarke (left), C of I, and the
Most Revd Eamon Martin (right), RC, both broadcast
nationally across Ireland and Northern Ireland on RTÉ. Dr Clarke
began by saying: "Today, we want to reflect upon gifts that many of
us could give and yet probably never thought to give. The
'fleshandblood' campaign, as it's known, encourages people to
become a blood or organ donor as a testimony of Christian charity
and love for our neighbour" (News, 16
They had visited a blood-donation session in Carrickmore, Co.
Tyrone, run by the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service, and
Archbishop Martin said: "Each year, on the whole island of Ireland,
nearly 100,000 people receive blood, or blood products.
"Donated blood is usually used by hospitals with five to seven
days of collection. Your blood could help save a life. It could go
to a mother during childbirth, to someone with cancer, to a person
undergoing routine surgery, or even be used in the traumatic
aftermath of a road traffic accident."
The transfusion services in Ireland need to attract about 30,000
donors each year, their spokesman, Paul McElkerney, said. But, at
present, only three to six per cent of the eligible population gave
blood; so they were "absolutely delighted with the support already
given by both Archbishops. With the help of all churches, we will
be able to continue to meet the demand for blood, and blood
products, to help save lives of patients in all our hospitals."