GIVE BLOOD GIVE LIFE | Sunday Observer


National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) earlier this year warned of a possible blood shortage in the first few months. It requested the public to donate blood to avoid such a situation and to pay attention to the urgent need for blood. According to NBTS, every year there is a deficiency, from January to April. As a response to the NBTS notification, iDonateLK team says that they decided to hold their fourth iDonateLK blood donation camp on February 18 at the Maharagama Apeksha Hospital. Also that it had to be organised in less than a months’ time to meet the urgent necessity of the NBTS. This years’ iDonateLK camp saw a considerable amount of volunteers getting together to support a worthy cause despite of the short notice and limited time period given. The Young Voice contacted Gayathri Seneviratne, one of the organisers of the iDonateLK team to know more about this camp held annually by Social Media Users.

As an Organiser how do you feel about this years’ iDonateLK camp? Would you say it was successful?

Yes, I would say it was successful, although we had several issues when organising it in a very short time. This time it was organised by only four of us namely Yeheshan de Silva (@Yeheshan), Prasad Perera (@BuduMalli), Surovi Salgado (@SNSalgado) and myself (@gsenev). We actually did not have enough time to properly plan it. The decision to have the blood donation camp was decided only in January, that’s when we got know that there is a deficiency in supply. So we had to act on it soon. To be honest we had not much of hope at first given it was done on very short notice. However, to our surprise a substantial number of people turned up to the camp and we were thrilled to see them participating.

How would you describe the enthusiasm of the Twitter community with regard to the iDonateLK? What made you initiate such an event?

This was the fourth camp we organised. We held camps in 2014, 2016 and 2017 as well. Over the years we noticed that the numbers keep increasing and immense response is given by the Twitter community to make the event a success. iDonateLK blood donation camp was primarily organised by the National Blood Bank. Other Blood Banks across the country have a very limited amount of stored blood during the months of April and December due to the holidays. So we wanted to contribute. The Sri Lankan Twitter Community is close-knit and almost like a family. You’ll find open arguments and friendly cheers. On Twitter, opinions, ideas and broadcasts are accepted more trustingly than other social media channels and these, form the perfect platform on which we can get the word around, get people to gather and share the great feeling of a selfless act.

What kind of information was shared during promotions and how were the responses?

We mainly made them aware as to what decides a person to be eligible to donate blood because we realised that a lot of people did not know the reasons for the NBTS to come up with such restrictions. Some did not know for what reason these restriction are for. It should also be noted that the criteria are set to ensure the safety of the donor as well as the quality of donated blood. So we thought of focussing more on that area while trying to address the issues people have when it comes to blood donating. I must mention that the Twitter users supported our camp by encouraging others to go donate even though they could not make it on that day as the event was organised in a short period of time.

Also former cricket stars Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara showed us their support by inviting their fans on Twitter to participate in iDonateLK camp which was quite encouraging.

How were the promotions done? Did the iDonateLK team use other social media platforms as well?

iDonateLK is organized by the Sri Lankan Twitter Community and therefore we used Twitter as our main platform. All the organisers are influential on Twitter and it made the task easy to get others involved in the event. I believe we have chosen the right people for our team. We all have different networks. Although we started to get people participate first on Twitter, later we went in to other social media platforms because we wanted to spread the word around fast and get the maximum support with the limited time we had.

Any plans to do another blood donation camp again this year?

The organising team has already discussed about having another camp within this year. We thought of organizing blood donation camps on the same day in multiple cities next time. Namely; Kandy, Negombo, Gampaha and Kurunegala. It is scheduled to be held end of this year.

We hope that we will get good support for those campaigns as well especially from the Twitter Community. We, (iDonateLK team) believes that there is no value you can place on acts of kindness and compassion. We all know the world needs more of it! Build your own communities or join ones that have already been built – but give!