Dealers join urgent blood drive

Staff at the SMG dealership selling Toyota and Lexus models in Hillcrest cheerfully bled to help save lives on Thursday, 10 December, when the SA National Blood Service restarted their blood donor drive after “a long lockdown wait”.

KZN d2 Mohammad Abubaker

Phlebotomist Desiree Williams told Dealerfloor the SMG dealership in Hillcrest were to first to step up and help restart the service’s regular blood donation drives at corporate offices.

Williams said she hoped to get 20 units from the willing staff at Hillcrest, where the different divisions were keeping score to see what percentage of staff were willing to donate their blood.

SMG staff at the Toyota and Lexus dealer in Hillcrest were the first to step up to help the Pinetown branch of the South African National Blood Service in the first donation drive since lockdown.

While the jury was still out on the winning division, no-one could doubt the winning individual: Lexus sales executive Kerry Shamon, who had to be brought to after she had fainted. She said she had fainted before when she donated blood, but decided she felt strong and went to donate her pint anyway; only to slowly turn paper white again once the needle was withdrawn.

Williams said she was very grateful for the willingness of all the SMG dealership’s staff to donate blood, as fewer than one percent of South Africans are active blood donors.

She said a unit of blood only lasts only 42 days after donation and the blood bank needed all blood types during the festive season, but especially from people with the universal O+ blood type.

On the SANBS website, the service states that every unit of blood can save a minimum of three lives as blood is separated into red blood cells, plasma and platelets.

A man who knows all about this ratio at the Fury Group in Pietermaritzburg is parts manager at Mohammed Abubaker, who has donated 70 units of blood.

Parts manager at the Fury Group in Pietermaritzburg, “uncle” Mohammed Abubaker, holds the well-worn card he received “back when I donated my 50th unit”.

Abubaker, whose colleagues call him uncle, told Dealerfloor he loves to help people but he did not think of himself as a hero for donating blood. “Still, it is humbling to think my donations have saved the lives of more than 210 people,” he said.

Williams said they would go to any dealership where staff are willing to help the SANBS in its aim to collect 3000 units of blood per day.

She said dealers can contact Neelashan Govender on 0317196500 or email Neelashan.Govender@sanbs.org.za, who will help to set up a donation drive at any dealership in South Africa.

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