Save a life today
Do something remarkable6th Dec 2020
As we head into the festive season, the blood banks are encouraging existing and new donors to donate blood in expectation of the usual end-of-year road carnage. So this is a good time to think about organising a regular blood drive at your estate. It’s an easy and painless way to make a huge difference in the world – to literally save a life, just by lying with your feet up for about 20 or 30 minutes.
Some scary festive statistics
The end-of-year holiday season is great in many ways – but it’s also a pretty hectic time for traffic and domestic accidents. Over the 2019–2020 festive season 1,617 people died on the roads and, in 2018–2019it was 1,789. That’s just deaths – the figures do not take into account the many thousands of injured motorists, passengers and pedestrians that may well have died if they had not received appropriate medical care. And part of that medical care is – often – a blood transfusion, which is why the festive season is such a frantic time for the blood banks.
Interestingly, the Easter figures for this year were surprisingly low – only 28 road deaths countrywide, which probably had a lot to do with the fact that we were in lockdown. But think about it – there must be something seriously wrong somewhere if we think that 28 deaths over a long weekend is good news. And, yes, there is, because the usual Easter road deaths are horrendous. In 2019 there were 162 – and that was a significant decrease from 2018 at 510 and 2017 at 449. Of course, there is not much that we as individuals or residential communities can do to decrease our accident statistics – but we can do something to help decrease the death toll. And that something is – donate blood. Of course, many of our residents are existing blood donors, but it’s worth looking into having a regular donation clinic actually at the estate. This would both make it more convenient for existing donors, and also encourage new donors.
In just the Western Cape alone, the Western Cape Blood Service (WCBS) needs 700 units of blood per day, which is why they are constantly on the lookout for more venues for blood clinics.
Organising a blood drive
Blood donation and blood transfusion services are administered by the WCBS in the Western Cape, and by the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) in the other eight provinces.
You can apply online to organise a blood drive with SANBS and, in the Western Cape, you would contact WCBS. It’s pretty straightforward, says WCBS’s Marike Gevers: ‘We will ask the potential host to conduct a clinic viability assessment.’ This is done by obtaining a list of 60 or more names of potential blood donors. Then they set up a meeting to assess the venue and confirm clinic logistics. If all goes well, and the clinic is viable, they will set a date for the first blood donation clinic.
‘We would prefer to schedule a blood donation clinic every two months,’ says Marike, ‘because donors can donate every 56 days. Or we can just do four a year.’
Win-win all the way round
There are only advantages. In just half an hour, you can save three lives – by lying down and chatting to your neighbour. Donating blood is one of those simple things that makes you feel really good about yourself, and doing it as a community can only have positive outcomes for all the residents and staff on an estate.