Personal tragedy has prompted a Jewish student to set up two charitable schemes that have received national acclaim.
Abigail Kay’s mother, Carol, died in December last year after a long battle with cancer. During the course of her treatment, Mrs Kay required regular blood transfusions.
After she died, 21-year-old Abigail encouraged friends to each donate a pint of blood until the total number of pints her mother had received during her illness had been reached.
Abigail’s donation plans quickly grew, and she began working with the Union of Jewish Students to send JSoc members to pre-arranged sessions at hospitals and centres in the cities where they were studying.
Abigail’s scheme was highly successful, with sessions in London for those studying at UCL, Westminster and Kensington attracting more than a dozen new student blood donors.
Now the scheme is going fully national, with a special UJS blood drive week to be held on campuses in early 2013.
Abigail, originally from Reading, Berkshire, said: “The plan is to have a week of activities across different universities with as many JSocs as possible arranging events on their campuses for all students.
“They will be either handing out leaflets to raise awareness on blood donation, or actually going to donate at sessions where there is a blood centre in their city.”
Abigail is also exploring the possibility of block booking two-hour sessions at donor centres for JSocs to use.
Interest in the Heythrop College student’s initiative is so substantial that Magen David Adom willwork with her to run a dedicated month of action in December.
“We want to get 100 people from across the country to sign up to give blood for the first time. We hope they will be people who have overcome their fears of donating, and in doing so they will raise money for MDA,” said Abigail.
The aim is to raise enough to sponsor an MDA vehicle in Mrs Kay’s memory.