Always nervous about it, and a small needle phobia she has does not make it easier at all. Despite that, singer and actress Mira Luoti donates blood again and again. For her, blood donation has become an important and a simple way to help others — she can do it conveniently, for instance, on her way to a radio interview.
Wearing a fluffy pink jacket and big golden earrings, Mira Luoti rushes into the warm restaurant. Outside, it is one of the frostiest days of this early spring, but smooth soup warms up. We meet at a vegetarian restaurant located in the city centre of Helsinki. Mira visits here often after her yoga class.
Yoga gives Mira a chance to stop for a while in the middle of her hectic and stressful everyday life.
“Yoga helps me to recover. I get time just for myself and, at the same time, I can listen to my body and hear how it is doing.”
Calming down is needed as it has been a busy spring full of work for Mira. Not too long ago, she finished the shootings for the "Vain elämää" TV show and, at the moment, she is working on a new solo album. "On kesäyö" summer theatre play practices and gigs with the band are about to start as well. Furthermore, her children — aged three, eight and ten years — are waiting at home.
In addition to taking care of her own wellbeing, the musician’s everyday life also involves helping others and doing good things.
For quite a long time already, Mira has been involved in the activities of the Association of Friends of the University Children’s Hospitals. Her hobbies include recycling children’s clothing with her friends, doing charity gigs with her band — and donating blood regularly.
An easy way to help
Mira took her first step in blood donation when she was studying at a culinary school, and a blood donation event was organised in the school gym. In that moment, she realised that blood donation is an easy way to do good. It became a habit. Mira feels that blood donation is an easy way to help others.
Mira says that she donates blood as regularly as it is possible for her given her irregular lifestyle and schedules. The Sanomatalo Blood Service Centre in the city centre of Helsinki is conveniently situated. In the same building, there are also radio studios where she sometimes visits to give interviews.
“Whenever I go to Sanomatalo because of business, I decide that I must not leave there without donating blood. Usually, I do not book an appointment at all. I just show up when I feel like it. Sometimes, the wait time can even be 30 minutes, but you can read magazines or do some work while waiting”.
Mira highly praises the Blood Service staff.
“It has been wonderful to see how well the Blood Service staff takes care of us donors. Everything has been made as easy and comfortable as possible, both before and after donation”.
After donating blood, Mira usually takes it easy for a couple of days. It would not even occur to her that she would attend a yoga class. She wants to let her body to recover in peace in order to be able to donate again.
“Often, I set a calendar reminder for the next visit. Three months seem to go by so fast.”
If the haemoglobin level is too low, blood donation is not always possible. This happened once to Mira, too, when she received a separate invitation to come to donate because blood of her blood group was needed.
“I left immediately after receiving the message. When I heard that I could not donate after all, I felt like crying”.
Mira herself has seen up close how important it is to donate. Her brother got ill with cancer and died a couple of years ago. When visiting the hospital, Mira saw how often blood bags were changed.
The hospital life became too familiar to her also when her youngest child Urho had to spend long periods of time at the children’s clinic because of heart disease.
Due to rough experiences, Mira has wanted to be involved in peer support work. She has collaborated, among others, with the Cancer Foundation.
“It is also therapy for me when I confront my fears and tell others what I have seen and experienced. Even though my own brother died of cancer, it is important to remember that there are also survivor stories”.
When Mira, feeling the first shock, spent weeks at the children’s clinic with her son Urho, she received support from other mothers.
“Soon, I noticed myself comforting and helping other mothers living the same reality. When something groundbreaking takes place in our lives, we all are just humans on the same line. No one’s experience is more or less terrible or important than someone else’s”.
Little big actions
Although Mira Luoti has been in the public eye for a long time, she does not consider herself an actual role model. For her, it is important to encourage others to make their dreams come true and to contribute to charity. Giving time for a good cause makes you feel good. Mira has also encouraged her loved ones and family members to donate blood.
“The key point is not the fact that I donate; you should do it, too. In the end, everything consists of small things and actions. You never know if that one time is all it takes to save someone’s life”.
Mira feels that blood donation is also something to be proud of. When she sees the Blood Service notices around the city centre, she knows that she is doing her part.
Sometimes, the children have wondered why there is a blood-stained piece of tissue on mother’s arm and asked what has happened to mom.
“They, too, visited the hospital to see my brother. When a nurse came into the room to change the blood bag, I said that because of THAT I donate blood sometimes. And this is how it is used where it is needed”.
became known from the band PMMP, where she served as a vocalist together with Paula Vesala
has been pursuing a solo career since 2016
also performs in musicals and summer theatre plays
lives in Helsinki with her three children and spouse and the two children of her spouse.
TEXT: Sini Sarvanne
PHOTO: Matti Vartiainen
Published in Avun maailma -magazine 2/2018