Why I am a blood donor

When you become a donor of any sort it means that you are thinking of someone other than yourself.  When the staff at the Western Province Blood Transfusion Service (WPTS) see someone walking in to donate blood, they are inspired to make the donor as comfortable as possible.

The WPTS collects more than 165 00 units of blood to improve the lives of over 390 000 individuals. Donating blood remains a personal choice. It’s not something you are forced to do, and it might just save the life of someone who desperately needs it. “In the Western Cape, approximately 800 units of blood are needed per day to fulfil the needs of local hospitals. 

This is an ever-increasing demand, as the population of the Western Cape is increasing,” says Marlize Mouton, Corporate Public Relations Officer at WPTS.

More people need to donate

In South Africa not enough people are donating, although so many people need it to survive. Patients might need it if they were involved in a car crash or during a life-threatening procedure on the operating table. “Research has indicated that although up to 75% of the population in the Western Cape may require blood transfusions in their lifetime, less than 1.5% are blood donors. 

The numbers just don’t add up and that is why the Western Province Blood Transfusion Service has embarked on a campaign to register 5 000 new, active blood donors during 2013. Our target for Blood Donor Month alone is 2 000 new, active blood donors,” says Marlize.

One donation can save more than three lives, as blood is mostly divided into its three main constituent parts, which are red cells, plasma and platelets.

Health24 visited the WPTS centre in Cape Town to find out why people donate. This is what they had to say:

Edward Williams: I work in the health industry and I know the importance of donating. By donating I am setting the example and not just talking, but doing something. I have been donating for many years and will continue to do so. You never know who might need your blood.

Phillip Wilson: By donating blood I feel I’m doing something. It is the very least I can do. It costs me nothing, just my time. My first time here was very traumatic. I remember passing out and the staff had to assist me. I come back every time to make a difference and possibly save lives.

Astrid Gibhard: I decided to donate blood because it’s the noble thing to do.  I started when I was 17; today I am 24. I do it because it costs me nothing but my time. I might save a life in the process. I think the South African government should make donating compulsory for everyone and should reconsider their laws against homosexuals donating blood.

Katherine ten Velthuis: I started to donate blood when I was 17. Today I am 23 and will continue to donate. People in critical circumstances might need it. You might need you own blood one day. I would tell other people to go ahead and just do it.

Qamarunnissana Mortlock: I started to donate blood in 2008 and never looked back. I would definitely encourage other people to donate.

More young people need to donate

 The WPTS encourages more young people to donate and invite their friends to come as well. They are always happy to see donors coming back. “We are very glad to see donors. There is one donor who had a very bad first experience. He has a fear of needles to point where he passes out. But he keeps coming back. He inspires us to walk the extra mile,” says Lorna Smith from WPTS.

Where can I donate?

You can visit the WPTS web page for your nearest clinic and location where you can donate. Alternatively call 021 507 6300 or SMS “Blood” to 33507 (R1.50 per SMS).

(Picture: blood donation from Shutterstock)

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