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Home » Volume 55 Issue 4- February-March 2018 » Feature » Article Details

“I am my brother and sister’s keeper”

Gaone Gaefiwe looks like any typical Motswana young woman. She is medium-built, coffee coloured, her beautiful marble eyes pop behind her square frame spectacles. She adorns her face with a captivating warm smile and has a contagious laughter.

However, Gaone is not your typical young woman as she is mature beyond her 25 years, and has dedicated her time and life to giving life.

The young woman from Lentsweletau has already visited many blood donation activations at multiple malls around Gaborone, is a regular at the National Blood Transfusion Centre to donate blood voluntarily, and has pledged to donate the precious red liquid 25 times throughout her youthful years.

“It all began in 2010 on World Donor Day. I went to the mall and was drawn to a blood donation stall curious to find out what the day was all about.

Upon arrival, a speaker from the transfusion Centre told everyone attending about the importance of donating blood and general information on who was eligible to be a donor,” says Gaone.

She says after the interesting speech, a blood recipient followed with her testimony of how donated blood saved her life, and that it finally persuaded her to be a donor.

The staff at the blood donation stall also noticed that she could be persuaded to donate blood and quickly calmed her nerves as they pricked her vein with a needle to draw the first blood.

Feeling no pain, they showed her how to pump her fist to aid in the faster collection of blood. After the process, Gaone felt happy and proud that she had done something worthwhile which could potentially save someone’s life. 

After some research on donating blood, Gaone decided to join the Pledge 25 Club hence her goal to donate 25 times.

The club’s purpose is to recruit donors who are persuaded and pledge to donate blood 25 times in their youthful years.

To date, Gaone has donated blood 19 times, and is the spokesperson of the Pledge 25 Club.

Gaone notes that a lot of people suffer in agony and that some even succumb to death due to the unavailability of blood in health facilities.

“The saddest part is that a lot of people have ailments that make it hard for them to actually produce sufficient blood.

Those people depend on blood donations and other forms of treatment to increase their blood levels,” says Gaone, noting that the country needs 40 000 units of blood every year while only 20 000 is collected per annum.

She also notes that an average healthy adult has between five and seven liters of blood flowing throw the veins, and that only 450ml is drawn per setting, adding that the only criterion used for eligibility is that a person should be fit and healthy and weighing 50kg and above and aged between 16 to 65 years.

A person donating blood should also not be taking any medication and not pregnant. Males are eligible to donate every three months whereas females can only donate every four months.

Gaone encourages people to donate blood as it not only saves lives, but also gives hope and health to the donor.

“When you donate blood, you have the feeling that you have just saved someone’s life, as a pint of blood can save up to three lives,” says Gaone.

Gaone also argues that as one has to be fit and healthy to donate blood, it makes one to be dedicated and to lead a healthy lifestyle.

“Donating blood not only saves lives, but also improves your life as a donor because you get to look at life from a different perspective.”

The Lentsweletau resident also reckons that nobody knows just when they would need blood.

“The blood you donate today may be the one saving you tomorrow,” she says.

She says they need more people to join their Pledge 25 Club and donate blood.

She says those who cannot donate blood due to medical or religious reasons are still welcome to join the club as they can aid in the dissemination of information.

Gaone says those willing to join the club should and register at the national blood transfusion centre or on their Facebook wall.

For those without access to the two mediums, she said they must call 390-1134 for registration.

She further states that it is a necessity for one to know their blood group, adding that in cases of emergency, knowing one’s blood group can save precious time, as they can source blood faster. “If someone I know is involved in an accident and needs a pint of blood, if they are the same blood group as I am, I am eligible to donate and it cuts down on the time taken trying to source out that particular blood group,” she says.

Although Gaone is not the only youth donating blood and belonging to the Pledge 25 Club, she deserves to be commended for her mission and foresight.
 “I am my brother and sister’s keeper,” she says, adding that as long as she has the means to help, “I will dedicate my youthful years to helping those in need of blood.”

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