For many years Murray has donated blood regularly without getting anything in return except the peace-of-mind that he is making a difference in the lives of many people that he has never even seen.
“I first donated blood when I was about 19 or 20, and after that i just kept on,’ says Murray. ‘I work in the health profession and I feel it is the right thing to do. At this stage nothing motivates me to donate blood, I just go and do it.”
On October 17, Murray once again sacrificed his time to donate another unit of his blood at the Bethlehem branch of the SANBS where he has been donating for many years.
“I feel very good after donating blood, I always sleep well after that,” says Murray. “I am a universal donor, my blood type is O-negative, a very rare blood type. Anyone can use my blood as the O-blood is the only blood type that can be transfused to patients of other blood types.”
Rochelle van der Merwe, the spokesperson for the SANBS in Bethlehem added that this blood type is mostly used in newborn babies. They have a project called ‘Safe Mothers Safe Babies’ where they keep O-negative blood in hospitals around the Free State areas they serve incase there is an urgent need of blood for new born babies.
“People’s lives have greatly improved from receiving blood – this is always the best news to every donor,” said Van der Merwe.
The Bethlehem SANBS shared a wonderful story of a 26-year-old Ditshitso Moloi who recently celebrated his birthday by donating his first unit of blood. When Moloi was 12-years old he was diagnosed with cancer and received blood as part of his treatment. “I thank all the blood donors because I could donate blood on this day due to blood donors that saved my life and gave me another birthday,” Moloi was quoted as saying.
Although there has been an increase in the number of blood donors in Bethlehem over the years, the SANBS has never stopped recruiting more people to donate. “We do have people donating blood regularly in Bethlehem but we are also aiming to get new people,” says Van der Merwe. Currently not even one percent of the population donates blood.
* Selloane Molakeng is the OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from Bethlehem in the Free State.