SANBS hosts annual Media Breakfast

BY JESICA SLABBERT - NOVEMBER 11, 2016

The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) hosted their annual Media Breakfast on Thursday at the Victorian Veranda as a way to thank local media for covering their campaigns.

Keynote speaker at the event was Johannes Abbot, who survived a devastating accident in May this year that led to the amputation of his right arm and leg. He was in critical condition and had lost a lot of blood at the accident - having only 8% left in his body when he first arrived at Greenacres Hospital.

“It is a privilege to be here, and if it wasn’t for this organisation I wouldn’t have been here,” said Abbot.

Suffering from heavy internal bleeding, he had to go through many surgeries and needed to be hooked up to a dialyses machine. His pelvis was severely damaged and needed 10mm rods to be put in place for it to heal and grow back together.

After 20 days in hospital, and being attached to a ventilator and a life support machine, Abbott began to recover.

He was then sent to Life Vincent Palotti Hospital in Cape Town for Rehabilitation, so that he could learn to stand on his left leg again for five weeks, which he achieved in three weeks.

The SANBS has recently launched a new campaign called BE THE 1™ Donor, which aims to inspire young people to become life-long blood and plasma donors and help save lives.

This international movement was conceptualised by a global healthcare company called Abbott, which has partnered with famous European footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo, in an effort to respond to the global decline in the number of new young donors.

Ronaldo has been donating blood for over seven years ever since he witnessed one of his teammates battle with the search for a stem cell donor for his ailing son.

Currently, South African tertiary students and learners contribute about 40% to the national blood reserves. Port Elizabeth makes up 63% of blood donations for the Eastern Cape, and 6% for SANBS nationally.

“SANBS is proud to be part of this movement and we hope that it will not only put blood donations on the agenda for discussion among young people but that it will also cause them to take a look in the mirror and say; ‘I have the power to save lives and am going to use it’,” said SANBS Marketing Manager, Silungile Mlambo.

The South African campaign, which launched in October, will recruit local ambassadors to join Ronaldo, including students and radio and television personalities.

They will take part in awareness-raising activations and be prominent on social and traditional media platforms to spread the word and support the global movement across South Africa.