WHEN YOU REALIZE THAT YOU HAVE SAVED SOMEBODY’S LIFE, IT’S INEXPRESSIBLE FEELING
Student blood donorship movement in Russia is developing more and more actively. Not only activities of Federal Voluntary Blood Donation Promotion Program, efforts of blood transfusion stations, but whish of volunteers among students try to make the idea of blood donorship so popular among young people. One of these volunteers is third-year student of Siberian State Geodesy Academy (SGGA) Anton Telnov.
- How many times have you donated blood? Does donorship influence your routine in any way?
- I became a donor when I was 18 and since then I have donated blood 8 times. Of course I want to be a donor even when I graduate from the Academy. I’m often asked how donorship affects my health. I can say that donorship makes my body stronger and doesn’t affect my plans in studies. I have trainings three times a week, I do powerlifting, which is rather tough sport and donorship does not affect it in any way. After 24 hours the body recovers absolutely from giving blood and I can go to the gym and work out 100%.
- There is an opinion that participation in donorship movement takes a lot of time, which is so needed during studies…
- If everything is organized all right, than the procedure of giving blood takes only a little time. In some sense you even save it on going to doctors. Compare: recently in a military registration and enlistment office we have had to be examined on HIV and there was a mile-long line. But being a donor I am regularly examined and can take a health certificate at any moment, not wasting my time.
- Anton, share experience, how to organize a successful donorship campaign for young people competently?
- Well, at first you should gather a voluntary group in your university, which would organize Donor Days. You can’t handle it alone. In our Academy we have a group of twelve people and we constantly have new comers, who want to participate in some way. The next stage is informational support of the campaign. First you should get a permission of the University administration. It’s great when the chancellor takes part in Donor Days, as he does in our Academy. It is a good example for the students! Then you should ask people whether they are ready to donate blood. The easiest way to do that is through the senior students’ council of the University. This way you will understand how many people are ready to donate blood.
Anton Telnov, the organizer of voluntary blood donorship movement in Siberian State Geodesy Academy (Novosibirsk)
- How do you attract attention of young people to donor campaigns?
- Of course, efforts are necessary so that students get to know about donorship and you have to work in many areas. During each campaign we make videos and show them before the meetings, conferences and hand out small leaflets all over the Academy. We always put the organizers’ telephone numbers in the leaflets so that students can ask questions. Souvenirs with donorship symbols work out very well to draw attention. One day students from Novosibirsk Industrial Technical School saw me wearing a T-shirt with the logo of Blood Service and asked where I got it. It was clear that the T-shirt was only a pretext. I told them how to organize a Donor Day – to invite specialists or to come to Blood Center by themselves. And they did come: on 5 December fifty people at once! It’s great for the first time and for such a small school!
- What do you think can better motivate young people to take part in donorship movement?
- As for incentives they are very important and can be very different. For many students good incentives are souvenirs with donorship logotypes, cups – we like them very much. I live in a hostel and when in the kitchen you see that somebody has a cup with a donorshop logo you understand that this person cannot be a stranger to you. We give those cups not to everybody, but only after the person gave his blood for three or four times so those who have them deserve respect. For other students a good incentive is the quickness of blood collection. And we always inform that donors do not have to collect a load of papers. All you need is your passport, registration and be over 50 kilograms in weight. It often happens that a donor and a recipient or their relatives want to get acquainted. And we help them to meet. This is also an incentive – to see a person whose life you have probably just saved…
- Anton, can you name the main motive which has considerable effect on the number of participants in student donor movement?
- I think that is a competition. If there is an element of competition, people will compete. The Novosibirsk student donorship movement has this element of competition between the universities: who organizes the campaign better, who gave more blood, who has more repeated donors. We see the statistics after each campaign and then try to catch up with “rivals” and leave them behind. I think, thanks to this the level of the campaign “Our gift in the sake of life!” rises each time. I think, the more variants of motivation there are, the more donors there will be. But for the majority the main idea of donorship is to save somebody’s life. I remember when one time, during one campaign, our group, all 15 people donated blood at once. The Novosibirsk blood center over a year ago introduced this service for donors: Each time a patient receives blood, the person whose blood it is receives a text message. And when a month later, we were at lections and those messages started coming… to the first, then to the second, third and the rest. It’s ineffable!
Most people know very little about donation and therefore trust the most unreasonable myths...