February is known as the month of love.  This celebration of love is not at all unique to South Africa, but celebrated worldwide.  What better way to show your heart than by donating blood at one of the Western Province Blood Transfusion Service’s (WPBTS) mobile or fixed clinics during this month?

The Western Cape’s hospitals and clinics require approximately 700 units of blood per day.  As blood cannot be manufactured, WPBTS relies on the support of volunteers donating blood regularly.

You might ask yourself how blood is used once it’s been donated?  Whole blood – the blood you donate during blood donation – is rarely used in its donated form.  It is only used in the cases of severe blood loss due to surgery, trauma or for an exchange transfusion in infants.  Blood is mostly separated and then transfused in its main products, namely plasma, platelets and red cells.  Thus, a single blood donation of 475ml can potentially save up to three lives!  Red blood cells are used for the treatment of anaemia and bleeding after trauma or surgery. Plasma is used to treat burn wounds and bleeding disorders, to restore blood volume and also to provide antibodies against infections and platelets are used to correct low platelet counts, for example in the treatment of leukemia and cancer.

To make it as convenient as possible for our blood donors, various blood donation clinics takes place around the Western Cape on a daily basis.  Mobile clinic venues can be viewed on the WPBTS website at http://www.wpblood.org.za/index.php?q=page/where-can-i-donate.

Blood donation takes only about 20 to 30 minutes of your time every 56 days.  It requires you to be between the ages of 16 and 65, be in good general health, weigh over 50 kilograms and lead a safe sexual lifestyle.  Blood donation does not cause you any bodily harm, since only 475ml blood is drawn.

Donate blood during this month of love and make a remarkable difference!