A TEACHER from Alcester has completed a gruelling 100,000 press-up challenge to raise awareness around giving blood.
Tom Jeffrey has been donating blood for nearly half his lifetime, and will be coming up to his 30th donation in April.
The 30-year-old, who teaches PE at King Edward VI Camp Hill School, explained: “My Nana, Shirley, had a bad car accident in 2019 and since then has required frequent blood transfusions, sometimes twice weekly. Without people donating their blood my lovely Nana definitely wouldn’t be with us today. Seeing the instant difference in my Nana after a transfusion made me inspired to encourage others to donate.”
Tom is no stranger to sponsored challenges, having run a number of marathons, and more recently, completing a 10,000 burpee challenge for the National Institute of Conductive Education – a school in Birmingham for children with physical and learning difficulties.
His year-long press-up task was suggested by his pupils after Tom told them he wanted to do something other than running. He took to a three-times daily schedule, performing up to 550 press-ups a day as his deadline drew closer.
And it has not been vain as his gruelling journey encouraged a flurry of blood donor registrations from his pupils along with a number of Alcester residents after posting his story on social media. Among the new donors was a pupil with a rare blood type which could help people suffering with sickle cell disease.
The dad-of-one said: “I felt that it was time to do a challenge that could raise awareness but not ask people money as everyone has been so generous recently and times are tough. So I mentioned to my year 13 form that I needed a new challenge and they said I should do a press-up challenge and came up with 100,000 in a year. I said I would do it if they helped me raise awareness of blood donation. Many of the pupils thought you had to be 18 to donate and didn’t realise it was 17, so they were excited to personally get involved.
“I’ve had so many replies telling me that appointments have been booked to donate. Also from posting on the ‘Alcester News’ Facebook page I’ve had people message me that they have booked appointments too. It’s important for people to know that throughout covid, the blood donation centres have been running as normal so you can still donate even during a pandemic.”
And Tom is not planning for his adventures to stop any time soon. He added: “I plan to do the Welsh 3000s Mountain Challenge as soon as restrictions are lifted. I’d like to continue raised awareness for giving blood as it’s keeping my Nana going strong!”
Visit www.nhsbt.nhs.uk for more information on blood donation.