Marthe Hugues-nie François, a nursing student at the Adventist University of Haiti smiles as she shows the unit of blood she donated to help fellow student Sanderva Judeline Joseph, who had been recently diagnosed with a rare and serious blood condition that kept her in the hospital for a week. Dozens of students, faculty staff, family and friends showed up to the first ever-blood drive organized on campus in Carrefour, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Aug. 3, 2023. [Photo: Jean Judelin and Jean Judenel Isaac]

Inter-America

First Blood Drive at Adventist University Helps Ailing Student in Haiti

The fast turnaround of the event makes the generous response even more impressivse.

Haiti | Jean Carmy Felixon and Inter-American Division News

Dozens of people recently showed up at Adventist University of Haiti (UNAH) to donate blood for a student who was hospitalized with a serious blood condition. Sanderva Judeline Joseph, age 24, a fourth-year business administration student, had recently been diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a rare and serious blood condition that occurs when the bone marrow cannot make enough new blood cells for the body to work normally.

In a matter of days, university officials organized a blood drive in coordination with the Ministry of Public Health, the National Blood Safety Program, and a local blood collection organization called Korbit 100%. The few dorm students remaining on campus, plus faculty, family, and friends, lined up to donate 30 units of blood on August 3, 2023.

Students from the Adventist University of Haiti, wait their turn to donate blood during the blood drive on Aug. 3, 2023. In less than a week’s notice students and faculty and others donated 30 units of blood to help Sanderva Judeline Joseph. [Photo: Jean Judelin and Jean Judenel Isaac]

Students from the Adventist University of Haiti, wait their turn to donate blood during the blood drive on Aug. 3, 2023. In less than a week’s notice students and faculty and others donated 30 units of blood to help Sanderva Judeline Joseph. [Photo: Jean Judelin and Jean Judenel Isaac]

“I would like to thank and congratulate the Adventist University of Haiti family for their love, wisdom, and understanding,” said Jean Gracieuse, assistant to the vice president of Student Affairs at UNAH. “By joyfully donating blood for the speedy recovery of Sanderva, each of you has demonstrated that every drop of blood counts, and every drop will turn into blessings for those donating.”

The blood drive was the first one organized on campus and one that left many baffled by how quickly blood units were collected.

“The Red Cross official told me that it is the first time that a blood drive that was launched in less than a week has drawn so many people and collected so many units of blood,” said Dr. Senèque Edmond, president of UNAH. “‘It took us six months of promoting to collect 40 units of blood, and while in UNAH, you collected near that much quicker,’ she told me,” Edmond said.

Two medical technicians from the blood drive initiative smiles as they show the units of blood collected to help Sanderva Judeline Joseph on the campus of the university on Aug. 3, 2023. [Photo: Jean Judelin and Jean Judenel Isaac]

Two medical technicians from the blood drive initiative smiles as they show the units of blood collected to help Sanderva Judeline Joseph on the campus of the university on Aug. 3, 2023. [Photo: Jean Judelin and Jean Judenel Isaac]

Thanks to the faculty of the School of Nursing who helped with vital signs of those donating, the faculty of the School of Theology who provided promotional material, and the many students and faculty who donated their blood, the initiative was a success, organizers said.

Roger’s Heandel Syleverin, a fourth-year theology student, said he had to take a test that same day but was glad to donate because he sees donating blood as a tangible manifestation of the “love thy neighbor” command. “Giving my blood is a concrete way of expressing my compassion for the humanity for which Christ died.”

Roger’s Heandel Syleverin, a fourth-year theology student, took a few minutes to donate blood before taking an exam to close the school year at the Adventist University of Haiti, Aug. 3, 2023.[Photo: Jean Judelin and Jean Judenel Isaac]

Roger’s Heandel Syleverin, a fourth-year theology student, took a few minutes to donate blood before taking an exam to close the school year at the Adventist University of Haiti, Aug. 3, 2023.[Photo: Jean Judelin and Jean Judenel Isaac]

Despite the strong desire from many participants to donate blood, only 30 persons were able to do so, said Clara O. Sanon Jérémie, dean of the School of Nursing at UNAH. “Ms. Joseph never knew she had that medical condition.” Jérémie explained that Joseph had begun to feel weak and had been hesitant to see a doctor. “When she saw a doctor, she was told to go to the hospital, but she delayed in going, and unfortunately, it was after another illness that Ms. Joseph went to see the doctor again, and her anemia had worsened, going from 3 to 2 grams of blood.”

Moved by so many who showed up to bless her, Joseph, whose mother died of the same blood condition, thanked everyone. “I don’t feel alone. I feel part of a big family that loves me,” she said. “Thank you for showing me your deep love. Thank you to the Lord for putting that in your heart. I will continue to fight and rely on Jesus, who can intervene according to His will.”

Clara O. Sanon Jérémie, dean of the School of Nursing Sciences at the Adventist University of Haiti smiles at students and teacher waiting in line to donate blood as she assist the coordination of the blood drive on campus for Saderva Judeline Joseph. [Photo: Jean Judelin and Jean Judenel Isaac]

Clara O. Sanon Jérémie, dean of the School of Nursing Sciences at the Adventist University of Haiti smiles at students and teacher waiting in line to donate blood as she assist the coordination of the blood drive on campus for Saderva Judeline Joseph. [Photo: Jean Judelin and Jean Judenel Isaac]

Because the blood condition has weakened her immune system, Joseph indicated that she requires intensive medical treatment and other medical interventions that are not accessible in Haiti at this time. She will continue to receive blood transfusions as she rests at home.

Students and faculty continue to pray for her condition and for ways that may open for her to receive the appropriate treatments outside the country soon.

Fritz Noel, vice president of academic affairs at UNAH, thanked donors and said he was motivated to propose to the university administration to create a blood donor club on campus. As a thank-you gesture, each donor received a T-shirt, a pin with the word “Hero” on it, as well as a special dinner for their contribution during the blood drive.

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division website.

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