Do Something Remarkable!

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” ~ Nelson Mandela

Do Something Remarkable. That is the slogan of the Western Province Blood Transfusion Service, a non-profit, independent organisation operating throughout the Western Cape. They supply safe blood and blood products to all communities in the region, from Cape Town all the way up to George.

On Friday, I finally got to donate blood for the very first time.

It certainly doesn’t feel like you are doing something remarkable, in fact it’s a wonderful time to lie back in their lounger chairs and just breathe and stop for a moment in life’s busyness. It is as you sit there, your blood running through the clear tube, that something remarkable is happening even though it feels far from it. You are giving lifesaving blood to someone who in the future is going to need it and by giving up 30 minutes of your day (this includes filling out the form, the pre-check and the donating itself) you can help someone in need.

For a long, long time I have wanted to give blood and in fact about 2 years ago a colleague and friend of mine wanted to do it too and so we agreed we were going to do it together. Our problem was we struggled to find out where they were having these donation clinics at the time. Eventually through another colleague, my friend got wind of a donation day and went along. I, unfortunately, wasn’t able to make that day. Since then it has always been in my mind to do it but I never got around to it. Until Friday. Thanks to another colleague who emailed out details of the next blood donation. Finally, it was my time!

At lunch time I headed out to the hospital where it was all going down. Funnily enough, I was getting ready to turn left onto the road that would take me to the hospital and as I changed lanes and came to a stop at the traffic lights, I smiled at the vehicle that was in front of me. It was a WP Blood Transfusion van and on the back it said “Donate Blood. Do Something Remarkable.” As the lights changed to green I followed the van all the way to the hospital, as if it was leading me there…

In the room where all this life-giving blood gets given and after filling out every single personal detail I could possible think to put an X where appropriate, my finger was pricked to make sure my iron levels were are all good before donating. Next I was up on the lounger and it was time to relax. I chatted to the staff who were all so super friendly and it turns out one of the nurses used to (and still does) live next to a plot in Jansens Road my father used to own. She asked after my parents and said to give them her regards. It’s such a small world. Even the guy giving blood next to me wished me well on my first blood donation as he finished up and jumped off  the lounger chair next to me. Giving is easy, even if it’s just sharing a few words with a stranger. It has definitely turned out to be the theme of my blog this past week!

A painless prick of the arm and suddenly I was connected and my blood was flowing. Such a simple gift of life.

A painless prick of the arm and suddenly I was connected and my blood was flowing. Such a simple gift of life.

The whole process was painless and quick and although it takes no effort on your part you really are doing something remarkable for some stranger you will never know.

Not only did I finally get to give blood, but I also got to tick off another bucket list item. #61, finally, is ticked!!

Lying back, it was ten minutes of complete time out as they took my blood and I got to tick off #61 on my bucket list. What a bonus!

Lying back, it was ten minutes of complete time out as they took my blood and I got to tick off #61 on my bucket list. What a bonus!

If you live in the Western Cape (South Africa) click WP Blood Transfusion Service and look for the link that says upcoming clinics to find out when they will next be taking donations in your area. For anyone else wanting to donate blood, why don’t you Google ‘blood donation’ to find your nearest clinic in the country you live.

Now, if only you can get over your fear of needles and realise that with a simple donation of only 475ml’s of blood, that takes no more than 30 minutes, you have the opportunity to save at least 3 lives every single time you give blood. I guess that is pretty remarkable, isn’t it?

~ All pictures are mine, taken by the lovely nurse, Sally Robinson ~

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