Cancer survivor and footballer is urging Welsh communities to become lifesavers

A blood cancer survivor and North Wales footballer is urging people to become life-saving blood donors in Wales.

Daniel Gosset, 26, from Y Felinheli, is known for his displays in midfield, playing for the likes of The New Saints, Rhyl, Bangor City, Cefn Druids and Bala Town. But following his diagnosis with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a rare type of cancer affecting the body’s white blood cells, in August 2019, Daniel’s awareness of the need for blood and blood components grew significantly.

Coinciding with lockdown restrictions due to the pandemic, his diagnosis led to him taking 18 months away from the pitch to undergo treatment and recover. He received chemotherapy as well as radiotherapy as part of his treatment plan to overcome cancer.

After returning to the pitch in 2020, Daniel expressed his appreciation to donors for taking the time to give life-saving blood donations for those going through similar situations.

He said: “Donating blood is incredibly important, especially in saving lives, and is something I’ve become passionate about promoting. Having seen first-hand just how impactful a blood donation is in saving lives and helping people in need, I want to do what I can to encourage others to sign up and donate blood.”

While Daniel took time away from the pitch, the Welsh Blood Service was already working to forge a partnership with the Football Association of Wales (FAW).

The two organisations launched a brand-new ‘Blood, Sweat and Cheers’ campaign throughout the JD Cymru Leagues and Orchard Welsh Premier Women’s League, encouraging supporters to donate blood locally to help save lives.

Despite a stop-start football season due to the pandemic, at the end of the first six months of the campaign, 50 Cymru League clubs have actively supported the ‘Blood, Sweat and Cheers’ campaign leading to hundreds of life-saving blood donation appointments made, including Daniel’s current team, Bala Town.

Daniel added: “As a member of the football community, it means so much to me seeing others play their part by booking a blood donation, especially my teammates and football fans across Wales.

“Many people don’t really think about just how important it is until they have a family member or close friend who needs a blood donation. I was the same before being diagnosed and it has really put into perspective for me just how important it is.”

Every single day, the Welsh Blood Service needs to collect 350 blood donations to supply 20 hospitals with enough blood for patients to support vital procedures.

With 100,000 blood donations each year from 70,000 volunteer donors, the organisation hopes its partnership with the FAW will support its goal of signing 11,000 new blood donors this year.

Giving blood is considered an essential service and donation sessions have continued across Wales throughout the pandemic with additional safety measures introduced to meet Welsh Government guidance for donors attending.

With Euro 2020 underway, you can show your support beyond the football pitch by signing up to donate blood.

Click here to find out more.