Blood Donor Month is celebrated annually in June with various events taking place to raise awareness for the need for safe blood. It is also a time to thank existing voluntary blood donors for their gift of life to thousands of unknown recipients.
The Western Province Blood Transfusion Service (WPBTS) needs to collect 700 units of blood daily to meet the needs of patients in the Western Cape and with less than 1.5% of the provincial population donating, it remains a constant challenge. Even in this technologically advanced era, there is no artificial replacement for this life-sustaining liquid.
In recognising that the youth of our country holds the future of a safe and sustainable blood supply in their hands, WPBTS is launching #YouthTube2016, an exciting competition for young aspiring creatives and filmmakers between the ages of 16 and 25. The competition asks youth to put together a short film promoting blood donation.
“The goal of the campaign is to create brand awareness around blood donation, increase blood collections and to provide a platform for young and aspiring filmmakers to showcase their talent. Ultimately, we want to save lives and inspire our youth to join in,” says Irene van Schalkwyk, Promotions Manager at WPBTS. “Interested parties can visit the WPBTS website www.wpblood.org.za (YouthTube tab) for more information and be encouraged by Grant Hinds, a young South African YouTuber, whose channel has reached more than one million views.”
There will be a number of categories with great prizes to be won including: individual school learner, individual tertiary student, group category (limited to five people) and also a prize for the educational institution with the most entries. The competition will be run from 1 June to 31 July 2016 and the public will be encouraged to vote to determine the winners thereafter, with the final winners chosen in September 2016.
Apart from this exciting campaign, continuous blood donations will still be needed during Blood Donor Month. “In an effort to create much needed awareness and to increase the number of new donors, as well as reinstate former donors, the WPBTS Blood Buzz will be travelling throughout the Western Cape to various destinations,” says van Schalkwyk. “We invite all to attend our blood donation clinics and find out how you can save at least three lives with only one donation.”
Blood donation takes 20 to 30 minutes of your time every 56 days. It requires you to be between the age of 16 and 65, weigh over 50kgs, be in good general health and lead a safe sexual lifestyle. It does not cause you any bodily harm, since only 475ml’s of blood is taken, which is replaced within 24 hours.
For more information, SMS “Blood” to 33507 and WPBTS will call you back with information on where to donate. Donors can also call (021) 507 6300, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.wpblood.org.za. Like us on Facebook (WP Blood) or follow us on Twitter (@WPBlood) for interesting facts and blood stock updates. Use the hashtag #YouthTube2016 to engage.