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14 Jun, 2007 00:57

Saving lives is simple

Each day every second someone in the world needs a blood transfusion to survive. World Blood Donor Day highlights appreciation for those who give blood, regularly-saving lives and making a difference.

In many countries including Russia, people expect to receive payment for blood donations. Yet evidence from around the world has demonstrated that voluntary unpaid donations make up the foundation of safe blood supply, because such donors are the least likely to transmit potentially life-threatening infections.

With the help of people like Ekaterina Chistyakova more and more Russians are giving their blood for free.

“The situation is getting better. In 2003 when we began our movement people didn't believe that there wasn't a sufficient amount of safe blood, people didn't understand that there are people who need blood. Now there is more of an understanding of how important this is,” Ekaterina says.

And more people seem to think giving blood just to save others is something that needs to be done.

“I have been giving blood for two years. When you see sick children in masks it just breaks my heart,” says one of the volunteer donors.

For some blood donations are not just an emergency lifesaver, but a chance to live a normal everyday life. Two-year-old Grisha Rikhard, who is suffering from leukaemia, is one of them. Soon Grisha will have bone marrow transplant.

“He'll have serious chemical treatment and his blood system will be destroyed. Without donated blood he just wouldn't survive,” explains Aleksandr Rikhard, Grisha's father.

Awareness about the importance of donating blood is growing in Russia. Early this spring a march was organized in Moscow to emphasize the need to help sick children in the country.

Thirty percent of those who give blood in Russia still do it for money, but with the help of others, chances are more people will begin sharing their blood just for the simple reason that it will save a life.