In 15 minutes, you can save lives. Blood drive on the anniversary of earthquake

It does not cost much and can save a person’s life. Donating blood is becoming more and more popular in Macedonia. Once again, on the anniversary of the earthquake that took place in 1963, such an action was organized.

In the Daily center for blood donation (Dare Dambaz building), representatives and Red Cross volunteers aimed at taking blood and encouraging people living in Skopje to do so, organized another blood drive. Aleksandra Valkanovska, professional staff from City Red Cross Skopje emphasizes how important it is to donate blood:  If everything is okay with health condition, people can donate blood. The procedure takes only 15 minutes which is very short. In 15 minutes, you can save lives. In each blood unite, you can save 3 lives.

People do this for many reasons. Some feel such an obligation, while others donate blood for loved ones who need it. Aleksandr is one of the people who came to donate blood on 26th of July. He feels responsible to do so. As he is saying: It’s human to give blood to others. I feel healthy and I want to help others. I feel great after donating the blood, like I already helped someone. In turn, David, who I also meet, emphasizes how important it is to support sick people who cannot survive without the blood of others: My mother is one of those people who need blood. I do it for her, but also for others. We cannot be indifferent to the suffering of others when we can actually improve their health.

It doesn’t take much to donate blood – you just need to be healthy. Donating blood is not a paid service in Macedonia. In return, however, people who do that receive a wholesome meal and, of course, a sense of satisfaction. During this action, Dr. Eftim Dimitrovski, who checks whether people are healthy, emphasizes how extremely important such initiatives are: It wouldn’t be possible to do any kind of surgery or operation without it. Blood collection is lower in the summer than usual, that’s one of the reasons why we organize such an event. People between 18 and 60 years of age can donate blood. Aleksandra Valkanovska says that the procedure of checking whether a person can make this gesture and procedure of donation takes only 30 minutes. In our country men can donate blood every 3 month and female every 4 month. We send special cards like invitation cards for each one donor that already has donated blood or maybe that could not donate blood and afterwards they are coming, she is explaining.

When I talk to the organizers, a dozen or so people came to donate blood. However, the expected number was between 80 and 100. There is an expiry date on each unit, so there is a need for fresh blood every day. So tomorrow and after tomorrow they will organize another blood drives. Blood donation is a continue process. I also talk to the organizers about the popularity of such campaigns in Macedonia and compare them to my country. Aleksandra explains that in Macedonia blood drive is a common thing and a family matter. Parents who are blood donors are a positive example for their children and often motivate them to become donors as well. Still, as a Red Cross we work hard on motivation on youngsters, but also on the motivation of multiple donors. For many procedures blood is an irreplaceable medicine. In our country it’s 100% volunteer and act of solidarity. It is not paid, she adds.

Another action organized on the anniversary of the tragic events reminds us of how extremely important it is to help another people. As in 1963, people helped the victims of the earthquake, so now by donating blood, the citizens of Skopje are still saving the lives of their loved ones.

Anna Marek

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