More donors mean more lives
17 june 2021
June 14 is the day when World Blood Donor Day is celebrated all over the world. This day is dedicated, above all, to the blood donors themselves, i.e., people who donate their blood and blood components for the sake of improving sick people's health and saving lives. Our new issue of the Formula for Good Deeds’ charity digest offers information on how important and easy it is to become a blood donor and a bone marrow donor.
Experience of SIBUR’s employees
Since 2016, SIBUR’s Corporate Center and its many plants and facilities have traditionally been holding Blood Donor Days whereupon thousands of the company’s employees donate their blood and blood components to help treat gravely ill patients.
This initiative has already been joined by employees of SIBUR's Corporate Center (Moscow), ZapSibNeftekhim (Tobolsk), Krasnoyarsk Synthetic Rubber Plant, POLIEF, Sibur-Khimprom (Perm), SiburTyumenGaz and its branches in Nizhnevartovsk, Gubkinsky, and Noyabrsk, Sibur International’s Shanghai Office (China), and others.
In 2018, more than 30 SIBUR’s Perm-based employees donated their blood and joined the National Bone Marrow Donor Register.
Donor blood is indispensable. Help those who need it
According to the website of Gift of Life, a foundation set up for helping children suffering from cancer, hematological and other severe diseases, the country needs at least 40 donors per 1,000 inhabitants to provide enough donor blood for medical needs. At the moment, in Europe the number is 25 to 27 donors on average per 1,000 people, whereas in the United States and in Canada it’s at 35 to 40. In today’s Russia, the average figure is about 14 donors per 1,000 inhabitants. Lately, the situation has been gradually improving but the situation remain strained. In theory, up to 10% to 15% of the population can qualify as donors, but in reality the number of those who donate blood is ten times lower.
On a daily basis, blood transfusions need to be given to people who were in an accident, or were injured as a result of a natural disaster, and to other gravely ill patients in Russian hospitals. Anyone can become a blood donor and save somebody’s life:
- Find out if you are healthy enough to be a blood donor. Check the list of counterindications approved by the Ministry of Health in 2020. If you have a medical condition that is not on the list, or if you take any medication other than those listed there, your Blood Services physician will help decide if you can be a blood donor.
- Find out where you can donate your blood near where you live. Addresses, opening hours and contact details of blood transfusion centers or departments in your municipality can be looked up on the Map of Blood Service’s Facilities.
- If you are not officially registered in the city where you currently reside, check in advance whether you are allowed to donate blood at a local health facility, and if you are, find out where exactly and under what conditions this can be done. Unfortunately, there are still restrictions on one’s ability to do this, but they are gradually being lifted.
- Read about what you need to do right before you donate blood. Donating blood and blood components is a perfectly safe procedure, but it still requires that you follow a few simple but very important rules. By following them, you can avoid unwanted complications following your blood donation. Some of the recommendations can be found here.
- If you are not donating your blood to a specific patient, there is no need to know your blood type in advance. This will be tested for you on the spot. If you want to donate to a specific patient it is advisable to know in advance if your blood types match, but sometimes even in this case it is possible to donate blood of any type – for an exchange.
- Make sure you bring your passport when about to undergo a blood donation procedure. No additional health certificates are required.
Bone marrow donation
Every year, 25,000 to 28,000 people in Russia are diagnosed with blood cancer. Every fifth of them can only be saved by a bone marrow transplant, even if the transplant is from an unrelated donor. This procedure would be impossible without volunteers whose phenotype has been determined (by examining their genes responsible for tissue compatibility). The job of finding volunteers, typing them (determining their phenotype), and searching for compatible donors for transplantation hospitals’ patients is handled by registers of potential bone marrow donors.
Rusfond (Russian Aid Foundation), one of the largest charitable foundations in Russia, was established in October 1996 by the Kommersant Publishing House as a charity project initiated by its journalists. Currently, the foundation has offices in 13 regions of Russia. Its mission is to help gravely ill children, develop civil society, and promote use of state-of-the-art medical technologies.
Since 2010, Rusfond has been involved in the development of the bone marrow donorship movement in the country. To accelerate the expansion of the domestic donors’ community, in 2017 Rusfond set up the Vasya Perevoshchikov National Register of Bone Marrow Donors (the National Bone Marrow Donors’ Register, or National BMDR).
Currently, of Russia’s roughly 160,000 registered donors, 48,500 are in the National Bone Marrow Donors’ Register. For reference: Germany’s bone marrow donor bank contains over 9.4 million volunteers, whereas the international database includes over 38.2 million donors. The more potential donors there are, the greater is the chance of saving people with blood diseases.
How can one help the register:
· Join the National BMDR. Anyone who wants to become a potential bone marrow donor can have their blood (just 4 ml of it will be taken from a vein) tested for typing at the nearest laboratory of Invitro, CMD, or DNCOM. After the typing test, your data will be entered into the National BMDR information system. If it is your genetic twin who ends up needing your help, you will be contacted by the register’s staff and offered to become a donor. Further information about how one can become a bone marrow donor can be found here.
- Donate money for further development of the National BMDR. It costs the foundation 9,600 rubles to add each new potential donor to the register. Its only source of funding is donations it receives. You can make your single donation to Rusfond in any amount or sign up for recurrent donations at this link.
- Become the register’s partner. If you cannot become a potential bone marrow donor, you can still support the register in other ways: by helping organize a campaign in your city to attract volunteers (by distributing flyers or involving the media), by telling your colleagues at work and followers on social media about donorship, or by providing professional pro bono help to the National Bone Marrow Donors’ Register. Write to email@example.com to let them know how exactly you would like to participate in supporting the register.
Other Rusfond’s assistance programs:
- Donate money for treating gravely ill children. Over the past 24 years, Rusfond has built a unique model of targeted media-based fundraising. On a regular basis, the charity runs appeals to help children in the Kommersant newspaper, at rusfond.ru, and in partner media outlets. Since 1996, more than RUB16.147 billion have been raised, resulting in 26,907 children getting help. As of June 9, 2021, RUB647,559,468 have been collected, with 502 children getting help. You can make your single donation to Rusfond in any amount or sign up for recurrent donations at this link.
- Help doctors who are heroically fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Almost on a daily basis, the Rusfond team receives letters from chief physicians of regional hospitals asking for help with buying personal protection equipment for doctors along with additional equipment and consumables for their patients. The foundation has been collecting donations for helping doctors and hospitals in 31 regions of Russia. You can help doctors in their fight against the coronavirus by clicking here.
You can learn more about Rusfond's activities by visiting the Foundation’s official website at rusfond.ru.
Amid the grave epidemiological situation in the country and around the world, patients continue to be in great need of donors’ help! We urge everyone to become blood and bone marrow donors:
- Choose the type of donorship activity you would like to become a part of;
- Go through all of the required steps listed in these materials;
- Share your impressions in the #VolunteersSIBUR group at CLICK by adding the hashtag #SIBUR_helps to your post.
In case you cannot be a blood or bone marrow donor for health reasons, you can still help gravely ill patients by disseminating information. For example, share this information you’re your colleagues or your followers on social media. Perhaps this will inspire someone to save another person’s life and become a donor!
If you know of a charitable foundation or a public welfare institution that might need help, or if you have ideas for materials to be published in our subsequent issues, email our Formula for Good Deeds program’s coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org with a note "For the FGD Charity Digest"
In case you missed our past issues:
- About SIBUR's Moscow-based employees providing volunteering assistance to the Choose Life Foundation helping children with cancer and hematological diseases
- Let's help renovate the Kind House for people with developmental disabilities
- A chance for life for children with cerebral palsy
- Marina Yefimova: "There are no trouble children, but there are hard life circumstances”.
- By taking care of our elderly, we are taking care of our future