Our letters have been stolen

Donate blood and give the gift of life.

The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) has temporarily “stolen” several letters from our name. But it’s for an excellent cause!

Also read: SANBS on the hunt for new blood 

In an innovative bid to attract new, young blood donors, the blood service will again take part in the international Missing Type campaign, from June 11 to June 18.

Also read: Another 300th blood donation for SANBS

The campaign asks organisations to remove the letters A, B and O, symbolising the missing blood types with the same letters, from their logos or names for a week. Since launching globally a few years ago, the initiative has notched up phenomenal success, spurring thousands of new blood donors to sign up worldwide.

The SANBS hopes this irreverent disappearing act will similarly weave a special kind of magic in South Africa, where only 1 per cent of South Africans give blood regularly.

“Imagine life without the letters A, B and O, let alone Scrabble,” said Silungile Mlambo, the SANBS’s chief marketing officer.

“South African big business has the power to change the fact that our country faces constant blood shortages, and save lives at the same time,” she said.

The SANBS has asked local brands, sports teams, corporates and landmarks to tweak their logos and donate their As, Bs and Os for just a week.

“Deleting the letters of the main blood groups from a company’s name in their adverts, email signatures and other marketing material is a fun and interactive way to raise awareness of South Africa’s urgent need for new blood donors,” she said.

The Missing Type campaign runs from June 11 to June 18, with World Blood Donor Day falling on June 14.

“It really is critical for the SANBS to replenish blood stocks at this time of year, with the school holidays just around the corner. This will inevitably cause a spike in the demand for blood transfusions,” said Mlambo.

“We are confident that our #MissingType campaign will help boost supply by capturing the imagination of South African businesses and their employees,” she said.

Some of the big brands taking part include Caxton, Outsurance and the Lions rugby team.

Mlambo said other sports teams will also be asked to throw their support behind the campaign, while the public can get involved by deleting the “blood types” from their names on social media for the week of June 11 to June 18.

“Because if you think about it, a South Africa without A, B and O would just be S_uth _fric_, it just wouldn’t be the same. However, with the help of the private sector and the public, we can fill in the blanks in our blood supply and keep stocks at healthy levels,” says Mlambo.

Visit www.sanbs.org.za or call 0800 11 90 31 for more information or to find out where to volunteer as a blood donor.

Join the #MissingType conversation on Twitter by tweeting @theSANBS or liking the SANBS on Facebook. Alternatively, follow them on Instagram @thesanbs.

  AUTHOR
Charmaine Slater
Senior journalist

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