At a time when blood stocks are critically low and blood is in huge demand over the Easter holiday period, this initiative will help ensure there is sufficient safe blood for medical emergencies and could potentially save 900 lives.
Four SANBS teams from different regions worked tirelessly all day to screen and interview donors and collect blood from church members who met the donation criteria. SANBS staff agreed that the turnout exceeded their expectations and that the units collected would make a significant contribution towards the blood stocks ahead of the holidays.
Vanessa Raju, SANBS manager: brand and communications, said during blood donor awareness week (16 - 23 April) SANBS highlights the importance of donating blood and saving lives. Publicity campaigns educate potential donors on the criteria for donating safe blood. She said: "Those who lead sexually safe lifestyles, are healthy, between the ages of 16 and 65 and weigh more than 50kg are encouraged to donate blood regularly. Our research and statistics show that regular blood donors are safe donors. This commitment to donate blood to others helps ensure they continue to lead safe lifestyles."
Nametso Mofokeng, public relations officer for UCKG, said: "We look forward to a long term relationship with SANBS and will encourage our members to become regular donors and to commit to donating blood four times a year."
For UCKG church members, donating blood was a symbolic act remembering the sacrifice made for them by the Lord Jesus on the cross on Good Friday. Many members who donated blood said that it was a privilege for them to give the most precious gift of life in recognition of the 'new life' they had received through Christ's crucifixion.
More than 30 000 church members from around South Africa will gather at the Johannesburg Stadium on Friday 22 April 2011 for the Good Friday "He is Alive" service.