Anu Mäki-Latvala from Jyväskylä is known for encouraging her friends to donate blood as well. Often when donating blood, she has been accompanied by a first-time donor.
Anu has been donating blood regularly since the rules have allowed her to do so. Now, more than 15 years having passed since her 18th birthday, Anu has donated blood 24 times.
“Donating has actually become a habit for me and I would need a really good reason to stop it. In my opinion, that it is a little like a civil duty, particularly when I lose nothing in it, but I can help others. Someday I may need blood myself,” Anu thinks.
Already when leaving the donation location, Anu marks down the next suitable donation date in her calendar.
Anu has not always lived in a place which has a Blood Service centre and often it has required quite an effort to find a suitable place where to donate.
“When I was younger, I moved a lot and I noticed that there were blood donation locations quite conveniently at relatively short distances. When I lived in Sodankylä, I went to the local garrison to donate,” Anu reminisces.
Now Anu, originally from Ostrobothnia, has lived in Jyväskylä for about ten years. She works as youth musician at the local parish. In addition to living a good everyday life, her hobbies include rock and swing partner dancing.
Bring your friends!
Anu considers it important to recruit new blood donors. At some point, she had an ambitious goal of bringing a new friend with her every time.
“Now I have gone through almost all of my friends so that I have had to ease off on that goal a little. But I often do take a friend along,” says Anu with a laugh.
Anu is of the opinion that donating blood is also a nice way of seeing friends. You can exchange your news over coffee, while doing something good. The threshold to go and donate blood is low, and it does not matter if you change your mind in the last minute.
“The staff at the Blood Service donation locations are very understanding. If the donor suddenly regrets his or her decision to donate, or it is not possible to donate for some other reason, you can always just drink the coffee.”
“By the way, the staff working at donation locations is really nice. They radiate a strong aura of professionalism, and they always welcome you warmly. It is very easy to come and donate for the first time,” Anu continues.
New donors needed
Anu has attracted new donors, for example, in Facebook or by asking people directly.
“Many have been happy to oblige, saying ‘I‘ve been meaning to go for a long time’. Some have also become interested in donating again after a long interval,” Anu points out.
Anu has not kept a count of how many friends she has urged to join her. She herself is motivated by the possibility that anyone of us may need blood at any time.
“You do not necessarily consider it as personal a matter as that. On the other hand, if you think a little, every one of us certainly knows someone who has been given blood at some point. Blood cannot be artificially produced either so all blood transfused in hospitals comes from blood donors. "
In other words, blood donation activity as a whole relies on voluntary donors, and new donors are needed all the time.
“Blood donation requires only a minimal amount of effort. Many other forms of providing help require much bigger investment of time or even money", Anu ponders.
Text: Minna Kalajoki / Mediafocus
Photos: Petteri Kivimäki