Cyprus is ranked first among EU countries for volunteer blood donations in proportion to its population, according to the Office of the Commissioner for Volunteering and NGO’s. The number of regular volunteer blood donors in Cyprus exceeds 20,000.
On the occasion of International Blood Donor Volunteer Day, the blood bank said Cyprus’s first-place ranking reflected the social sensitivity of its population. It is also one of only 62 countries worldwide which covers its blood needs with 100 per cent voluntary donation.
In Cyprus, more than 70,000 blood units are needed per year, which corresponds to around 300 blood donors a day.
“That’s why the effort to enlighten citizens for blood donation never stops,” the blood bank said.
According to the announcement, blood donation has seen steady increases in recent years, going up 20 per cent over the past five years.
“The contribution of young people is great. This is of particular importance in Europe where the average age is increasing dramatically, thus, in this way, we are able to continuously replace blood donors over 65 years of age,” the announcement said.
According to the World Health Organisation, statistics in the last decade show that about 250 million people a year are affected by emergency situations and need blood transfusions.
The blood bank has posted on its website personal stories of people who received ‘the gift of life’ from their fellow human beings.
Christos Apostolakoudis, who some years ago became a transfusion recipient for 40 consecutive days said: “When I got better I realised that this blood came from many anonymous volunteer blood donors whom I did not know and have never met in my life. I wonder what greatness of soul and how much love these people have for their fellow man.”
Giota Petrou, a thalassaemic who needs transfusions once a week said: “Every week we worry about whether there will be enough blood for all of us thalassaemics. You can all become blood donors. It is very painless, it takes very little time and it makes you feel great, because your own blood will help many people to continue on living.”