With school holidays and Easter Weekend coming up, there is bound to be a lot of road-tripping and festivities. Sadly, this usually means an uptick in accidents and a high demand for blood by hospitals and other institutions.

On Human Rights Day, 21 March 2018, the South African National Blood Service issued a plea for #NewBlood – and South Africans more than answered the call. A total of 5 473 units of blood were collected on the day, far outstripping the 4 500 units targeted.

“Thank you for the #NewBlood, South Africa. Thank you for lending us your hand. Thanks to you we have started turning things around,” says a delighted Silungile Mlambo, Chief Marketing Officer for the SANBS.

Mlambo says close to 7 000 people turned up at donor centres to donate.

“We are completely overwhelmed by the turnout. The #NewBlood we collected will help us to ensure that fewer lives are placed at risk this Easter. There will be enough blood for babies born prematurely over the Easter holidays. There will be enough blood for accident victims. The person battling cancer will not have to wait for blood. And it is all thanks to South Africans, who showed by their actions that they want to be the agents of change that President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged us to be,” she says.

Mlambo urged all South Africans to continue to donate blood regularly.

“Currently less than 1% of South Africans – about 400 000 – donate blood, even though it demands little more than giving up 30 minutes about four times a year,” she says. “We hope that everyone who donated as part of the #NewBlood campaign and all other eligible donors will donate regularly and help us save lives.

“The beauty of blood donation is that virtually anyone can do it. You don’t need to have money or live in a fancy house or have a graduate degree. If you’re over 16 years old, weigh more than 50kg and practise a safe lifestyle, you can be a blood donor. And by giving blood you can save a minimum of three lives.”

Visit www.sanbs.org.za or call 0800 11 90 31 to find out where you can donate.