Health Campaign (17th July 2010) Be there!!!

BLOOD, probably the most precious life-giving commodity for humanity. From “Do something amazing today. Save a life. Give blood!” and “From me to you—a gift of life” or “Give blood; give life”, so many slogans have come up over the years, all with the same purpose – to illustrate its importance and dire need. JCI Mauritius has not been one to lag behind in promoting blood donation and this coming Saturday, the Local Chapter of Curepipe sets up a massive health campaign, main theme being the donation of “liquid love” i.e. blood. This coming 17th July, people will be invited to donate blood specifically for the treatment of haemophilia and thalassaemia – 2 life-threatening genetic blood disorders.

HAEMOPHILIA is a genetic condition that affects the blood’s ability to clot. A person suffering from haemophilia, when injured, will bleed for a longer time than a normal healthy individual. Though in general symptoms range from mild to moderate to severe, internal bleeding – as much as it can be severe and life-threatening – can also result in tissue, joint and organ damage. The two most common forms of haemophilia tend to affect males more than females, though cases of the latter are not unknown. There is also a rarer form of haemophilia, called acquired haemophilia, which is not an inherited condition but is caused by the immune system attacking the body’s own clotting factors. Haemophilia is incurable and patients can only be treated with injections of clotting factors; human blood being the number one source.

THALASSAEMIA is yet another genetic disorder affecting some 100 to 150 people in Mauritius alone. It’s a name given to an inherited blood disorder that affects the body’s ability to create red blood cells. In fact, all red blood cells contain a protein called haemoglobin which carries oxygen around the body for use in cells and tissues. Thalassaemic people have a gene mutation that makes them unable to produce the right form of haemoglobin. Forms of thalassaemia include alpha thalassaemia, alpha thalassaemia major, haemoglobin H disease and beta thalassaemia major. In the latter two cases sufferers require life-long blood transfusions, whilst babies with alpha thalassaemia major rarely make it past pregnancy stage. Other complications include organ damage, restricted growth, liver disease, heart failure and death. The only known cures for thalassaemia are bone marrow transplant and umbilical cord blood transplantations but both procedures can cause other complications and are not suitable for everyone. Beta thalassaemia major is not uncommon, and though challenging to live with, sufferers are now capable of longer life spans but are heavily dependent on frequent blood transfusions.

Nothing can ever be more exhilarating than saving someone’s life and giving blood is the easiest way of doing so. Junior Chamber International has as the core of its mission the ‘creation of positive change’ with its slogan being ‘Be the Change’. Giving blood and knowing this will be there for ourselves or someone we know is a huge reassurance in our faith in life. Besides that, giving blood is beneficial to us too in that it helps our body evacuate the excess iron we accumulate from our diet, hence helping to reduce the risk of heart disease.

For regular donors out there, do remember that one must wait at least eight weeks (56 days) between donations of whole blood and 16 weeks (112 days) between double red cell donations. Platelet apheresis donors may give every 7 days up to 24 times per year.

The call is made friends! Saturday 17th July 2010 is the day we prove we are the change!
Venue: Shoprite, Trianon| Time: 9am onwards


About Sabrina Hanoomanjee