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-::- Give the Gift of Life this Christmas -::-

It's almost time for the Christmas tree to appear from the closet again and take up its rightful, annual place in the corner of the living room.

Family members and friends will shortly place their presents under these trees. This is usually done to show the people you care about that you are thinking about them. He best of all is that you don’t have to receive an expensive gift from someone to feel appreciated, and self-made presents often have more meaning than those in the shop’s show window.

There is however annually a group of people that needs a gift from the heart during Christmas. Their faces may change from year to year, but their need remains the same. They require blood.

Unfortunately for them this is one gift that Father Christmas cannot manufacture, but fortunately there is a group of strangers that give this gift without thinking twice.

They perhaps don't even know the people to whom they are giving part of themselves, and they don’t even spend a single cent on this gift, but they give it with an open heart. They know that their present can mean the life to someone. They know they may even be the next in line to give this gift, and hope that there is someone that will also give the same gift should this happen.

They are blood donors. They don’t expect any gift in return for the one they gave. They try their utmost to ensure that enough blood is available when needed, but unfortunately there is usually not enough of these people available during the Festive Season.

Most people would know that the Festive Season is also a time when the number of accidents increases dramatically. Fortunately many people survive these accidents, but many of them will subsequently need blood.

Many people go on holiday during this time, including blood donors. This means that the need for blood increases while the number of available units decreases. More blood donations are subsequently required to meet the rising need. So if you are older than sixteen, healthy and lead safe lifestyle, you can make a difference to someone’s life by donating blood during the Festive Season.

Patients in need of a blood transfusion requires an average of three units of blood, so if you and two other people go and donate blood, your combined efforts would probably have saved a life.

New year, new life

For those who never get around to donating blood, the new year is always a great time to start. New Year’s resolutions usually include things such as to stop smoking or lose weight, but what about including regular blood donations in your resolutions to start off the year in the right spirit...?

Christmas the whole year

Although the Festive Season is one of the times during the year in which blood is required the most, this vital gift is used throughout the whole year to save lives.

Blood does not keep a diary of when it is needed during the year. It also does not keep a diary of who needs it. The need for blood can hit any person at any time, whether it is used for accident victims or the treatment of cancer, burn wounds or haemophilia amongst others. The quantity used also differs, from only a few units to even hundreds of units used by a single person.

Try your best to get to your nearest blood donor centre of the South African National Blood Service (SANBS). The SANBS forms the important link between the blood donor, who makes a life-giving contribution, and the patient that depends on this contribution.

The Service's slogan for 2003 is “From me to you, a Gift of Life", which focus between the important bond between the donor and the patient. Blood donation is one of the few ways in which rich and poor, old and young can give or receive the same priceless gift.

Although donors never see who receives their blood or blood products, they can know for sure that there are people out there that will always be thankful towards them.

If you want to become part of the process of blood donation, phone the SANBS Toll Free at 0800 11 9031, and feel how it feels to be a lifesaver.

Released by:
Etienne Cronjé
Communications Officer
South African National Blood Service
Inland Region Head Office
Tel: (011) 761-9038
Fax: (011) 761-9052

The web site will support the SANBS wherever possible in ensuring that motorists arrive alive at their destination - and if they are involved in accidents - that they receive the best medical assistance!

For more information on blood donation or your nearest blood donor centre, call the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) toll free at 0800 11 9031 or visit

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