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, with the number of regular volunteer blood donors in Cyprus exceeding 20,000 people.
It is one of the only 62 countries worldwide which covers all of its blood needs with 100% voluntary donation. In Cyprus, more than 70,000 blood units are needed per year, which corresponds to approximately 300 blood donors a day. This is why the blood bank says that the effort to enlighten citizens about the importance of blood donations never stops. Blood donations in Cyprus have actually increased steadily in recent years, more precisely by 20% over the past five years.
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 became a transfusion recipient for 40 consecutive days a few years ago, 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.”
On the occasion of International Blood Donor Volunteer Day, the blood bank said that Cyprus’s first-place ranking reflects the social sensitivity of its population.