WE are fast approaching the festive season, a time when relaxation, gifts and family are on the minds of many. However, it is also a time when for many, the demands of our day to day life still continue, like in the case of doctors who work hard at saving lives and in most cases can only do so with the help of blood and blood products.“Traditionally December is a difficult time for the South African National Blood Service (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 years’ blood stock levels, over the same period, is anything to go by, we know that we have some tough times ahead,” says Sifiso Khoza, regional marketing manager.“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“Every day, we depend on the generosity of volunteers to roll up their sleeves to help ensure lifesaving blood products are available for those in need, and today that need is urgent.“We want to encourage the public to find 30 minutes this holiday period to donate blood, because whilst you are relaxing and enjoying the break your blood will be out there saving up to three lives,” said Khoza.The KZN region has planned various special blood drive promotions over the festive season and into January 2019 with extended hours and additional weekend blood drives. The idea is to remain on people’s minds and to be accessible, convenient and visible.“It is only possible to meet the demand with the help of regular and committed blood donors. Blood donors are extraordinary South Africans. They are the reason that healthcare workers in hospitals across the country can do their challenging jobs with more ease. We absolutely can’t do without this special type of volunteers,” he said.