On 20 April, Russia celebrates one of the most socially important days – National Blood Donor Day. This day is to honour and thank those who donate their blood to save the lives and health of complete strangers. What is more, this is the day to commemorate doctors who collect blood and other medical specialists who develop various techniques, study thoroughly the collected material, operate the equipment, and maintain the sanitary conditions of blood donor centres.
This holiday was established on 20 February 2007 to commemorate the first blood transfusion in Russia. The decision was taken by the State Duma of the Russian Federation during a round table discussion which was dedicated to donor issues and issues of blood supply services. On 20 April 1832, a young obstetrician from Saint Petersburg Andrey Volf was the first to successfully transfuse blood to a woman in labour. His professionalism and skills saved the woman’s life.
There was a special reason to establish Donor Day. Every year over 1.5 million people in Russia are badly in need of blood transfusion. According to specialists, the capital of the Russian Federation daily needs about 200 litres of donor material. It should be noted that over 35% of blood to be transfused is brought to Moscow and the Moscow region from other regions of Russia, including Voronezh region. The Voronezh youth donor movement, Kacheli, plays a very important role in this process.
The movement goes back to 2009 when VSU launched the Kaplya nadezhdy (A drop of hope) project. The founder and the head of the movement is Nikolay Sereda, the Vice Head of the Student Affairs and Social Development Department of Voronezh State University. Originally, only university students were engaged in this project. Now the Kacheli movement has acquired regional status and has among its participants students from other Voronezh universities. Kacheli is involved in promoting the donor movement in Voronezh, creates a common database of secondary donors for continuous inflow of blood at blood donor stations, and also organises regular donor events in Voronezh universities. Every year over 1,000 students donate blood during such events.
Today, the Voronezh youth donor movement Kacheli gives a lecture dedicated to organisation of the Donor Day in the park "Alye Parusa".
'Our goal is to encourage young people to donate blood without any motivation from outside. And we have nearly reached it – the percent of young people among blood donors has increased up to 70%. Young people should realise that it is very easy to become a blood donor and it is not harmful to the health of the donor at all. What's more, by helping others we also help ourselves - we become better people, more humane and start valuing life more,' said Nikolay Sereda.