The WP Blood Transfusion Service (WPBTS) wishes to thank its blood donors for the support received during the Festive Season.

“We received remarkable support from the Western Cape, permanent residence and visitors alike,” says Marlize van der Merwe, WPBTS Spokesperson.

The Service collected 13 058 units of blood, which was used to save and enhance the lives of more than 39 000 people. This is a 2 608 increase for the same period during the previous year’s Festive Season. Although there were incidences of a low blood supply, donors reacted quickly on the appeal for their donations and carried the Service through one of the toughest times annually.

“Thank you to all the various venues which assisted us by hosting blood drives during the Festive Season. Without your help, we wouldn’t have been able to accommodate our blood donors. We appreciate your commitment to our cause,” says van der Merwe.

As blood cannot be artificially manufactured, the collection thereof is a continuous process. Blood has a “shelf life”, meaning that it can only be stored for a specific number of days. Whole blood can be stored for 21 days, while Platelets can only be stored for five days and Plasma can be stored for one to two years in frozen form.

WPBTS encourages the public to commit to regular blood donation during 2017. The basic donor criteria asks one to be at least 16 years of age, weigh more than 50 kg, be in good general health and live a safe lifestyle. It is also important that a donor eats a substantial meal three to four hours before donating blood and increase fluid intake on the day.

While donors from all blood groups and communities are important, there is a particular need for donors with blood types O and B to donate regularly as stocks of these are more vulnerable to shortfalls. There is also a need for more black African people to become blood donors to reflect the ethnic diversity of patients.

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 or visit Like us on Facebook (WP Blood) or follow us on Twitter (@WPBlood) for interesting facts and blood stock updates.