AT the recent South African National Blood Services (SANBS) media breakfast at Coastlands Musgrave, the organisation stressed the importance of donating blood during the upcoming festive season.SANBS hopes that the community will find 30 minutes of their time to roll up their sleeves this December to donate some blood, as less than one percent of the country’s population are regular donors.Speaking on the heightened need for donors in December, regional marketing manager of SANBS Sifiso Khoza said: “Traditionally December is a difficult time for the SANBS, as we are unable to collect the 3 000 units of blood a day that is needed to treat patients, like those who are terminally ill, let alone any trauma incidents. “If previous year’s blood stock levels over the same period is anything to go by, we know that we have some tough times ahead. “Today, the SANBS asks the South African public for help. “As we head into the busy holiday season, we are facing a particularly challenging situation and need blood and platelet donors to replenish the blood supply for hospital patients counting on us,” said Khoza.According to the organisation, the KZN region aims to be accessible, convenient, and visible, and has planned various special blood drive promotions over the festive season which will continue into January 2019.At the event, the media listened to the testimonials of two mothers’ whose children are present today thanks to SANBS. First of the two speakers was Hazel Mthembu, mother of nine-year old Nellie, who detailed her daughter’s journey with leukemia. Today Nellie is cancer free. The second speaker was Janet Legemaate whose son, Matthew, required transfusions during his transplant surgery.SANBS is a non-profit organisation that operates in eight of the nine provinces in the country. According to the organisation, they require 3 000 units of blood daily as a blood transfusion occurs every 28 seconds in South Africa. O-group blood is the most needed group, as this blood can be transfused to any patient in an emergency.Donors can donate as regularly as every 56-days. To become a blood donor, a person is required to weigh over 50kg; be between the ages of 16 and 65; lead a sexually safe lifestyle; be in general good health; and consider their blood to be safe for transfusion.The blood collected by the SANBS is mainly used for medical cases (27%), childbirth and gynaecological cases (26%), surgical cases (21%), paediatric cases (10%), orthopaedic cases (6%), research/laboratory (six percent), and casualty (four percent).