14 TYGERBURGER Parow
Woensdag, 30 Oktober 2013
Walking through South Africa in name of charity ANDRÉ BAKKES
Teresa McManus (middle), a resident from Diep River, donated her 75th donation on the 75th birthday of the Western Province Blood Transfusion Service on 24 October at the Blue Route Mall Donor Centre. Teresa donated her first unit at the Foreshore during the 1970s. “My dad was a blood donor and I am a nurse, so I have firsthand experience of how precious blood is and how, by donating blood, lives are saved.” To her left is Shamiela Syce (WPBTS donor hostess), with Dr Greg Bellairs (WPBTS CEO/medical director).
er whole body aches. Every determined step towards her goal seems harder than the one before, but she persists. She breaks down in tears, when utter isolation drives her to the precipice of submission, but she persists. The frightening magnitude of Charlotte Steyn’s 5 327 km journey haunts her day and night, but she never gives in. Now, as she approaches the mountain she last saw on 21 March, her body protests and time presses hard on her. As always, Bloubergstrand’s Charlotte doesn’t know what waits for her over the horizon. Will there be people waiting for her? Will she be there in time? Will the pain pills deafen this urge to stop and rest her throbbing foot? She walks on. Just like she did that day when she left her home and her friends behind in the name of charity. Even at the very start she envisioned the end of her journey through South Africa, and now she is only a few kilometres from Big Bay. To walk through nine provinces and create awareness for nine causes – her goal was always crystal clear. Eager and admiring people wait for Charlotte at the five kilometre mark. They take on the final stretch of her journey with her. As with so many curious people before them, she answers their questions one by one. “Did you really walk through South Africa?” “On foot?” “Were you afraid?” “What was the most difficult part?” Her story has evolved, but the questions stay the same. “It first occurred to me that our country might be shaped like a heart and that I should walk within this outline. But then I saw it was really a warped heart, and with that came the realisation that the heart of our country needs healing. “It signals our broken society, to be fixed through service to humanity, by chivalrous caring, kindness and loving,” says the 34year-old. Charlotte walked on behalf of nine charitable organisations to represent key aspects encountered in life (childhood; education; health; HIV/Aids; disabilities; elderly; human rights; the environment; animals) with an umbrella organisation giveall2charity (www.giveall2charity.org). She encountered incredible and hair-raising moments along the way.
Donate blood and save up to three lives
On 21 March Charlotte Steyn started walking through South Africa. Just over 5 300 km later she finally arrived back in Big Bay on Sunday. PHOTO: WILLEM VAN ZYL
“I have shouted at the top of my voice a few times during this trek, for survival. Lifethreatening situations were for real: neardrowning, an attack by crazed dogs, an impassable gorge, a most precarious way along the cliffs above the ocean, dehydration, exhaustion, isolation,” she continues. In the quiet stretches of dust and mud she also had epiphanies. “I’ve realised how powerful one’s mind is, and that determination is key, but without a sense of direction, it means absolutely nothing.” At the Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga she was certain people would shed their negativity and appreciate the country once again if they could see what she saw. “I try to compress all the experiences, trying to convey the meaning of this journey... A lasting image was created by a young child, early one Saturday morning as I walked past another informal village. “This girl child had a two litre Coke bottle, the cap unscrewed, with some fake hair pushed inside. The child nurtured the bottle as if a real doll. “When she waved at me and then hugged the bottle, again it was clear that love is what we have in common. Life consists of feeding hunger and fulfilling a hunger for love.” V Learn more about her adventure by going to the website mentioned above or see Facebook “Hearts-in-Motion Trail Walk”. V Also, go to www.tygerburger.co.za to view an image gallery.
his year is quite a significant year for the Western Province Blood Transfusion Service as it marks the 75th anniversary of the organisation. On the historic day of 24 October 1938, the first meeting of the Cape Peninsula Blood Transfusion Service was held. Today the organisation is known as one of the longest-running blood transfusion services in Africa.
A humble beginning During the 1930s, blood transfusion practice developed swiftly in response to the demand driven by the outbreak of the Second World War. About 200 blood donors enrolled within the first three months. Blood transfusion was initially very basic as transfusions were done directly from donor to recipient with only a screen separating them from each other. Rapid growth During its first month of operations, the service performed a mere 30 transfusions. In 1939, the service was fortunate enough to establish its first blood bank. Progress was made and on 1 June 1942 the service obtained its own premises in Cape Town where three donors could be accommodated. At this time blood was collected in glass Horlicks milk bottles, known as “May Wests”. During 1949 the first mobile unit was put into action. The service began to recruit donors throughout the country and this actively prompted the change of name to the Western Province Blood Transfusion Service. The increased demand for blood saw a second mobile unit put into action. During the 60s over 50 000 donors donated blood in the province and 352 clinics were visited by the mobile units. In
1969 the service employed 160 staff members, which allowed for the collection and distribution of almost 7 000 units of blood per month.
Milestones It was indeed a memorable day for the organisation when, in 1966, the service was closely involved with the first heart transplant that took place at Groote Schuur Hospital. New technology in the early 70s dramatically improved the service’s capabilities. Testing of blood was extended to include the identification of Hepatitis B, not only syphilis. Plastic containers replaced glass bottles for the collection of blood. During the 80s the Quality Assurance Department was established and the service was accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). A new laboratory facility was set up to facilitate testing blood for HIV infection. After several moves, the service settled at its current head office in Pinelands in April 1990. The new millennium narrowed the window period of detection for HIV to between five and 11 days. To donate Blood donation takes only 20 to 30 minutes of your time, every 56 days. If you are between the ages of 16 and 65, weigh more than 50 kg, are in good general health and lead a safe sexual lifestyle, consider donating blood. One single donation can save more than three lives. V For more information, SMS “Blood” to 33507 (R1.50) and the WPBTS will call you back with information on where to donate. Donors can also call 021 507 6300, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.wpblood.org.za. Like us on Facebook (WP Blood) or follow us on Twitter (@WPBlood).
Published on Oct 30, 2013