The cinematic screen and novels are often ablaze with heroes rushing in to save the day. But, what does it take to be a real-life hero?
Situated at Newcastle Mall is the South African National Blood Services (SANBS). An organisation dedicated to saving lives, one pint of blood at a time.
What is so important about donating blood?
From the day human life is conceived, blood fulfils a life giving and nurturing role. As the fluid of growth, transporting nourishment from digestion and hormones from glands throughout the body, blood is needed to ensure you lead a healthy life,
It even transports disease fighting substances to the tissue and body waste to the kidneys. As it contains living cells, blood is alive, and it cannot be manufactured like medications. Which is why healthy donors are needed.
If not for blood donors, life-saving medical treatment for children with life threatening anaemia, trauma victims, women with pregnancy related complications, organ transplants, bone marrow transplants, complicated surgical procedures and cancer treatments would not be possible.
To be a blood donor, you must meet the following minimum criteria:
- Be between the ages of 16 and 65 years old
- You must weigh a minimum of 50kgs
- Be in good health and lead a low risk lifestyle
- You consider your blood safe for transfusion
- You have had a balanced meal within four hours of donating blood
- You have not donated blood in the last 56 days
- Your pulse must be between 50 to 100 regular beats a minute
- Your blood pressure must be below 180 systolic (first number) and below 100 diastolic (second number) (180/100mmHg) and above 100 systolic (first number) and above 60 diastolic (second number) (100/60mmHg).
Previously, your haemoglobin level was supposed to be 12.5g/dL or above. This is no longer the case.
Haemoglobin is the iron-containing oxygen-transport metalloprotein in the red blood cells of almost all vertebrate. Haemoglobin in the blood carries oxygen from the lungs or gills to the rest of the body.
The SANBS now requires these levels to be 13g/dL.
“This means we are going to lose a lot of donors,” says spokesperson for Newcastle SANBS Shavani Sewpaul.
But why are the haemoglobin levels being changed?
Sewpaul says after extensive researching, it was discovered that donor’s iron levels were being depleted. This means, in order to ensure donors remained healthy, the SANBS upped the haemoglobin levels.
“We now need the number of donors to increase,” Sewpaul emphasises. This, she says, can be done if regular donors introduce family and friends to donating blood.
As there is a serious need for blood supply, which intensifies during school holidays in March, June, September and December, alongside Easter and the Christmas period, Sewpaul encourages Newcastillians to visit the SANBS at Newcastle Mall.
The office hours are as follows:
Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 9am to 5pm
Tuesday: 9am to 5pm
Saturday: 9am to 3pm.
By donating blood, you can save a life and be a real life superhero by sparing a mere 10 minutes of your time.