SA’s blood transfusion services join with country’s premier university rugby competition to kick blood donation shortages into touch

The South African National Blood Service is delighted to announce that it has partnered with FNB Varsity Cup and the Western Province Blood Transfusion Service (WPBTS) to foster a culture of blood donation among young South Africans.

The partnership will run from this year to 2020 and is aimed at:
● Raising awareness around blood donation in young South Africans;
● Inculcating a culture of blood donation among the young; and
● Increasing the amount of blood donated in South Africa.

The partnership involves supporters of the nine FNB Varsity Cup teams and seven FNB Varsity Shield teams going head to head to win the Gazlam Trophy, which will be awarded to the university which encourages the most people to donate blood.

The Gazlam Trophy will be awarded at the same prize-giving ceremony where the FNB Varsity Cup 2018 winner will be crowned.

“While students will obviously be encouraged to donate in support of their team, staff and alumni as well as parents, friends and supporters who do not attend the university can also donate in favour of their FNB Varsity Cup or FNB Varsity Shield team,” says Silungile Mlambo, national marketing manager for the SANBS. “All they have to do is go into any donor centre or to a blood drive and say they are donating on behalf of a particular team. That donation will then be awarded to the identified team. The team whose supporters donate the most will win the Gazlam Trophy.”

Mlambo says the SANBS and WPBTS will host blood drives on all the participating campuses – including on the days of FNB Varsity Cup and FNB Varsity Shield matches – to make it easy for students and university staff to donate.

A log will be published weekly – on SANBS, WPBTS, FNB Varsity Cup social media platforms and SuperSport – to keep supporters appraised of their team’s standing in the Gazlam Trophy.

“We are optimistic that this partnership will help to foster a culture of blood donation, and regular blood donation among all South Africans,” says Mlambo. “What many people are still not aware of is that there is no substitute for blood and because most of the components have a relatively short shelf life, we need as many South Africans as possible to donate and to donate regularly. We are confident that this competition and partnership with FNB Varsity Cup will raise awareness of regular blood donation throughout our country.”

She says anyone who is over 16, weighs over 50kg and who practises a healthy lifestyle can donate.

“What is also not widely known is that the people who need blood the most are not accident victims, but cancer patients and mothers in childbirth. A unit of blood, something that most people will never miss and never think about, gives many people a second chance at life: the wife or husband, mother or father battling cancer; the woman giving birth and the baby born prematurely. Blood is not just blood, it is life. Everybody who donates helps to save three lives,” she says.

To find out more about donating blood and to locate your nearest SANBS donor centre or blood drive, visit sanbs.org.za or call 0800 11 90 31.