June 14th every year is World Blood Donor Day. This day is set aside to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood. It also raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure that all individuals and communities have access to affordable and timely supplies of safe and quality-assured blood and blood products.
Have you ever given blood? Do you plan to? In honour of this day, I repeat an earlier post I had made on the gift of life. Enjoy….
What does having the power to give the gift of life mean? Is it the birthing of a baby, as a great percentage of women are able to do? Is it the role the men and women play in the miracle of conception? Is it the role of doctors in being able to take life and death decisions that affect their patients? The list could go on forever and I guess in some ways these different people play major roles in determining life at some point or the other.
I take a few seconds to issue a quick disclaimer that this concept of giving the gift of life is very different from playing God. Only God can play God :D. The rest of us? We only play roles he has prescribed. A friend of mine would say cynically, ‘if men were God…’
Back to the discourse; is this role of giving the gift of life something that you would associate with yourself? Not a doctor, maybe not male, or even if female, no child etc. So perhaps you think this probably doesn’t refer to you. But guess what? It does! You absolutely have the ability to give the gift of life and not just in the ways I mentioned above. You can donate your blood and save somebody else’s life!
It might appear to casual on-lookers that this is a ‘no-brainer-not-a-problem, ‘the-blood-banks-should-be-filled-with-blood’ kinda situation, but I guess that perhaps only the medics and parents/people who have witnessed the frantic calling, running around and utter confusion that is the scenario when blood is needed for a patient (perhaps a sickler, a pregnant woman or even a newly born baby) and can’t be found, can understand! Lots of lives have been lost due to lack of blood in banks. Perhaps you understand now why some hospitals insist on having the husband’s of pregnant women donate blood during the course of their wives’ ANC whether they would need it or not. Probably their innovative way of getting ‘voluntary’ donors! 😀
Let me digress a bit from the disturbing imagery of blood search to a bit of history. There is a bit of confusion about the exact person who performed the first blood transfusion (Jean-Baptiste Denys or Richard Lower) but all the controversies agree that this was done in 1667. They must have been real geniuses, thinking out of the box and making a difference to the very future of medicine apart from the life they saved. As most ‘firsts’ are, it was a crude procedure using sheep’s blood!!! It was a miracle that the patient survived but subsequent procedures using same blood were not so successful.
Away from history to the present, you can also make a difference. Become a voluntary ‘unpaid’ blood donor. You will be doing more good than you even know. We all like to do good even if this is seasonal for a greater percentage of people :D, during festive seasons with visits to the motherless babies’ homes etc. Let’s make doing good more fashionable and ‘in-season’ all the time.
It doesn’t matter your blood group. People with blood group ‘O’ are known as universal donors and people with blood group AB are known as universal acceptors. Thus, blood groups O+, O-, AB- and B- are always in hot demand. Even if you don’t have any of these ‘fashionable’ 😉 blood groups, your donation still counts. You have to be at least 17 years or over, in good health with a healthy blood count and weigh more than 50kg, you can donate whole blood every 56 days and your blood will be screened for viruses and bacteria. If you’re female, please don’t donate while menstruating or soon after. We don’t want to drain the life out of you, do we? 😀
So what are you waiting for? Let’s play our parts in saving other people’s lives; we may very well be saving ours as that guy or lady who needs a blood donation tomorrow might very well be you. As the lotto advert goes, who knows, ‘e fit be you oh!’