Lewisham mum urges black people to donate rare blood type to offer ‘invaluable lifeline’

The mum of a brave eight-year-old Lewisham girl with a blood disease is urging people with the same rare blood type to donate.

Actress Lisa Phillip, 40, said each bag of Ro blood donated was like a ‘little bag of hope’ as there was not enough of the blood type, more common among black people, to meet demand.

Her daughter Miai must receive regular blood transfusions at University College Hospital because of sickle cell disease, the fastest growing genetic disorder in the UK.

Lisa, 40, said: “The pain is unbearable and very hard to manage.’’

She added: ‘”Miai has had six blood transfusions in her short life and and I’ve witnessed the benefits first hand.

“My gratitude extends to all the donors who have helped Miai and given her the strength to do all the things she loves best.”

She donated some of her own blood at a Summer of Saving Lives event in Catford, as a thank you to all those who had helped her daughter by donating their own blood, and in hope of encouraging more black people to step forward to help those in need.

An NHS Blood and Transport spokeperson said they needed black Londoners to give blood to meet the rising demand.

In the last three years there has been an 80% increase in demand for the type Ro blood that helps people like Miai during their treatment.

Vashti-iona Beckford, 34, from south London, has donated her blood twice after her aunt nearly died from a severe sickle cell crisis.

She said: ‘’I am reminded of the last conversation I had with my aunt before she was admitted to hospital.

“It could have been our last, and the fear of losing her was and is far greater than the one I have of a temporary pin prick.”

To register as a blood donor, visit

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