Blood donor chases 100 unit mark as he makes a difference in people’s lives

Sometimes heroes don’t wear capes. They just donate much-needed blood on a regular basis. Forty-five-year-old Elton May, senior assistant librarian at the Joburg City Library, is one of the city’s top-donating hordes of employees.May’s first blood donation was at the age of 18 when the South African National Blood Service visited his school in 1996.

May says that after learning about the importance of blood donation and how it helps people, that’s when he decided blood donation was something he would continue to do.

“I was curious and young, so I thought, just let me try it and see if I like it or not. It was kind of scary because it was my first experience,” he shares “Amazingly, everything went well.”

He says it was the start of something that has become a tradition for him. To date, he has donated 63 units of blood.

May joined the city in 2002 as a volunteer at the Noordgesig library after a brief stint in the army. Instead of sitting at home, he wanted to get involved in his community, which is how he landed the volunteer position. He then became a library assistant. This opened the door for his appointment to Joburg Library in 2012.

May describes donating blood as a painless process. “It’s a very simple and effortless process.” He considers it part of his routine. He says he donates as often as he can, and for the past few years has given blood six times a year.

“It’s just a small gesture from me to help someone else out there. You never know who might need it. It’s my little civic duty to help people that I can.

To get more people on board, May always tells her friends and family members that donating blood isn’t hard. He constantly encourages his two teenage nieces to try to inspire them to donate blood.

May is an introverted person who loves games. He is also an avid reader. Although he mostly keeps to himself, when it comes to motivating others to donate blood, nothing stops him.

May’s “ultimate target” is 100 donations. “Right now, I donate at a time, and 100 is a personal milestone I’d like to reach.”

May says there are thousands of potential blood donors among city employees. “It’s a personal choice, but I encourage you to try at least once,” he insists.

Written by Brümilda Swartbooi

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