Thanks to South Africa’s dedicated pool of blood, Jacob Mohapi received blood on two occasions after being in a horrific car accident. These blood transfusions saved Jacob’s life.

As the world celebrates World Blood Donor Day, the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) encourages everyday South Africans to become regular blood donors. This is also a day to thank the unsung heroes who have donated blood, and in the process saved and enhanced the lives of people like Jacob.

Each year, World Blood Donor Day highlights the dire need to maintain a steady supply of healthy, safe blood and blood products. This year’s theme is ‘Be there for someone else’. Give Blood. Share life’.

This theme emphasises that blood donation is an act of solidarity, and highlights the fundamental values of empathy and kindness that underpin the selfless act of blood donation.

SANBS’s chief marketing officer, Silungile Mlambo, said that life is the best gift to give to anyone.

“The best gift you can give anyone is the gift of life. We know that South Africans have huge hearts and we call on them to fully embrace the spirit of this year’s World Blood Donor Day theme,” she said.

“Out of South Africa’s population of 56-million people, only about 1% donate blood regularly. This blood is used by every person living in this country who needs a transfusion during an operation or after being involved in an accident.”

While SANBS applauds its regular donors, it will need more to meet its target of 3 300 units (pints) of blood per day is maintained.

“In particular, this Youth Month we are appealing to young, healthy South Africans to make donating blood a lifestyle choice. It’s your chance to put the president’s Thuma Mina rallying call into action,” she said.

South Africans can visit their nearest blood donor centre on 14 June, while corporates, schools, universities and community organisations are doing their bit by arranging blood drives.

There is a common misconception that most of the blood donated in South Africa goes to accident victims. Below is a rough breakdown of where blood goes for use:

– 28% is used to treat cancer and aplastic anaemia

– 27% is used during childbirth

– 21% is used for scheduled surgery

– 10% is used for paediatric care

– 6% goes to laboratories

– 6% is used for orthopaedic care

– 4% is used for accident or trauma victims

World Blood Donor Day coincides with the #MissingType campaign, which runs from 11 to 18 June 2018.

SANBS is asking organisations to remove the letters A, B and O (symbolising the “missing” blood types with the same letters) from their logos for a week to raise awareness of the need for new blood donors. All South Africans can join in by temporarily deleting the As, Bs and Os from their social media handles.

As for Jacob, he wants to thank every blood donor who made it possible for him to live his life with his son Thabang.

Blood donations go way beyond just the person who receives the blood. It’s not just blood, it’s keeping families together.

Picture: Pixabay

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She enjoys reading the works of Stephen King, and exploring the beauty of Cape Town and its surrounds.