A YOUNG mother who lost her daughter when she was just 82 days old, is thankful to all South African blood donors as she was at least able to spend that precious little time with her child.
Valdez van Rooyen lost her baby girl in 2013 when she was diagnosed with jejunal atresia. Patients with this rare genetic disorder are born with a partial absence of the fold of the stomach membrane that connects the small intestine to the back wall of the
For the 82 days she had lived, she underwent 12 surgeries and used 110 pints of blood.
Though it was difficult to lose her only baby girl, the mother of three, was glad to have spent these days with her little girl.
She has been donating blood since she was 16 and said she knows exactly how important it is to donate blood.
“My family and I were able to create memories with her, even if it was for a short while. Each minute that passed, meant a lot. Blood donors gave me a chance to say goodbye and I will be forever thankful,” Van Rooyen said.
She encouraged people who might be scared of the needle, by saying: “Just look at your wife, husband, kids, parents or siblings and think one day they might need the blood.
“There is no guarantee that it might not be one of them who need the blood. We don’t have to be doctors or surgeons to know the importance of donating blood,” an emotional Van Rooyen said.
The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) has rallied behind international movement BE THE 1 Donor with soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo to inspire young people to become life-long blood and plasma donors to save lives.
Public relations practitioner at SANBS Rene Vice said this is to encourage young people to be regular donors.
“We had a challenge this year with our student donors. The #FeesMustFallcampaign did not do us justice as our drives had to be cancelled time and time again.
“The total collection in the whole Eastern Cape at the end of last month was 63242. Eastern Cape youth collections between the age of 16-25 was 32% and East London alone constitutes 35% of collections,” Vice said.
To donate blood, you can go to your nearest blood donor centre or otherwise look out for the Big Bleed festive campaign on December 9 at Vincent Park Centre opposite Ocean Basket.