14 June 2017

Afraid of needles? Here's why you should donate blood

On World Blood Donor Day ordinary heroes are encouraged to overcome their fear of needles and save lives.


Most people when asked why they don't donate blood will answer: “I’m scared of needles.” 

Trypanophobia (the fear of needles) is a very real phobia. However, for many people, receiving a blood donation is the difference between living and dying. 

Fortunately, there are many kind and selfless individuals who do find their way to blood donation clinics, saving the lives of people like Melinda Samuels and Roelof Badenhorst.

Thirty years ago, Melinda needed four pints of blood after she haemorrhaged during the birth of her first child. She would have died without a blood transfusion.

Roelof needed a blood transfusion after surgery. He was put in an induced coma after being knocked off his motorbike by a drunk driver. He broke his right leg, dislocated his hip and cracked a couple of ribs.

Be a hero this Blood Donor Month

“South Africa is well acquainted with heroes. Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Nkosi Johnson, Natalie du Toit – they are all widely feted and acknowledged. But there are many other unacknowledged heroes in South Africa, like the thousands of ordinary men and women who regularly donate blood, selflessly and without expectation of a reward or recognition,” says Silungile Mlambo, national marketing manager for the South African National Blood Service. 

You can save up to three lives

Donating one unit of blood (480ml) can save up to three lives. 

“So many people in life-threatening situations require blood. Blood is what saved Melinda’s life, so that she could raise and love the baby she had brought into the world. It’s what saved Roelof’s lives, after he suffered complications during major surgery. It’s what helps that cancer patient endure and survive treatment," says Mlambo.

If you still believe that your needle phobia is reason enough to keep you from donating blood, think again.

“Blood cannot be artificially manufactured, therefore the [Western Province Blood Transfusion] Service relies completely on voluntary blood donors,” says WPBTS spokesperson Marlize van der Merwe. “There is a need for new blood donors, as the Western Cape has a population of about 6.2 million people, but less than 1.5% donate blood.”  

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Are you a blood donor? Share your story of why you donate blood. Email

Read more:

The health benefits of donating blood

Top excuses for not donating blood

Video: Behind the scenes at a blood processing lab


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