In an effort to encourage more people to donate blood, 22 local television and music stars have really put their money where their mouths are: they’re having their fingers pricked, and presenting their veins in support of the South African National Blood Service (SANBS).
The SANBS says it hopes celebrity involvement will encourage people to "commit to giving blood that could save lives".
The blood-donor ambassadors, including Anel Alexander, Marlon Roelfze, Nadia Beukes and Stephen van Niekerk, will participate in public campaigns and may even be seen on the armchair next to yours next time you’re off to the blood donor clinic.
"I found it important to encourage people to make a contribution that doesn’t cost them anything more than a little bit of time. When you are able to make a life-changing or life saving difference in somebody’s life, there is really no excuse to not do it. I get my satisfaction from making people laugh. Imagine the satisfaction you’ll get from helping someone live!" says comedian Melt Sieberhagen.
Why you should donate blood
Every day thousands of people would die if others did not donate their blood. By donating blood, you are giving a patient something money cannot buy and science cannot create. A single blood donation can equal three gifts of life, as nearly every blood donation is separated into red blood cells, plasma and platelets.
The majority of transfusions are given to:
- Women who haemorrhage as a complication of pregnancy;
- Children with severe anaemia;
- Accident victims; and
- Surgical and cancer patients.
The donation process
Donating blood is a safe and simple procedure that takes about 30 minutes. All needles are new, sterile, used only once and incinerated after use.
This is how the actual donation process works: You will complete a donor questionnaire that includes your personal details:
You will answer questions regarding your health and social behaviour;
You will undergo a one-on-one interview with a staff member following the questions you answered on the donor questionnaire;
Your iron (haemoglobin) level will be checked, and your blood pressure and pulse rate will be taken;
During the donation process you will donate one unit of blood (480ml), which your body will quickly replace; and
You will receive refreshments to aid in replacing lost fluid.
For more information on which celebrities are endorsing the SANBS Ambassadors programme and how you can get involved, visit www.sanbs.org.za or call the SANBS toll-free helpline at 0800-11-9031.
Sources: SANBS, Health24
(Health24, June 2009)
Virgin blood donors
Blood donation questionnaire