[Photo courtesy of the South American Division]

General Conference

Public Employee Accumulates Almost 50 Blood Donations

Influence extended to son and other family members

Brazil | Jackeline Farah

A gesture of love has been passed down through the generations in the family of Vânia Custódio. Since her youth, she has been a blood donor and encourages her children, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren to follow in her footsteps. “It is an accomplishment to give a little of what God does for me. With my health, I can help those who need it, and I teach this in my home. Whenever possible, we will all donate together,” underlines the 56-year-old civil servant.

With almost 50 donations, Vânia's son already has 20 in the donor portfolio and is proud. “My mom has been talking to us about donating blood since I was little. When I was a child, I used to come with her, and today, we sit next to each other,” says Michael Carvalho, 28 years old.

Practices like this have been happening daily since 2006 at the Fundação Hospitalar de Hematologia e Hemoterapia do Amazonas (HEMOAM), when the partnership between the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Blood Center began. According to Flávia Rezende, the organization's manager for attracting donors, the organization already counts on the loyalty of the volunteers.

“We know that many people will stop donating, but young Adventists will not. They are always here voluntarily. In January, when many people were contaminated with the COVID-19 variant, they were the ones who kept the minimum amount of our stock,” explains Flávia.

Appointment

The fidelity of blood donations is part of the activities of the Youth Societies of Adventist churches in the Amazon. There is a weekly schedule between them, so as not to fail to practice what Jesus taught us in Matthew 22:39: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The donation of a blood bag can save up to four lives, according to data from HEMOAM. Every day, 230 bags are sent to hospitals in the capital.

[Photo courtesy of the South American Division]

[Photo courtesy of the South American Division]

The Blood Center is unique in Amazonas and supplies treatment clinics and public and private hospitals. In this period of pandemic, the need has increased, but donations have decreased. Hence, the importance of constant donations.

For Pastor Jefferson Carvalho, youth director for the eastern region of Amazonas, this is one of the most impacting actions in the life of young people. “They are very active, carry out a lot of projects, donate their time to evangelize, [and] go to the streets to donate food; but the act of donating blood affects them much more. There, they understand a little of what Jesus did for us,” adds Carvalho.

Beginner

Even with 16 years of partnership, there is always someone who is starting in the blood donor career. Ismael Neves, 18, tried to donate when he was 16, but due to his weight, he couldn't. Now, he is proud to be on his second donation. “I feel useful, and I ask myself how not [sic] to give a little of what God gives me for free to those who need it. Jesus gave his blood and life for me. It's the least I can do for my brother[s and sisters],” says Neves.

To donate blood, it is enough to be between 18 and 69 years old (16 years old with supervision of a responsible parent or guardian), in good health, well fed, weigh over 50 kg, and not have traveled to a forest area in the last 15 days. 

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