Thursday, 13 September 2018

50th blood donation milestone

On Tuesday evening, I reached my 50th blood donation milestone.

I started donating blood at 16, the age at which people are permittes to donate blood. We had a mobile clinic that came to our school a few times a year.

At university, I initially went to the permanent clinic at Eastgate and then later, for my postgrad year at medical school campus, I would donate at the hospital clinic. 

Once I started adventure racing, I was often in malaria areas, which is an exclusion, and so I got out of donating for the better part of a decade plus.

It was only when I organised a blood donation drive at a company where I was working in mid-2008, that I regained my regular donor status by donating at least three times a year for the last 10 years.
I left the company shortly after our successful donor day and settled in at the Bruma donor clinic. For three years, I have been a regular at our Parys mobile clinic. They come to town on the second Tuesday of every month. 

As I have done four donations already this year, I recieved a lovely picnic backpack from SANBS. Their gifts are definitely a lot more frequent - probably to encourage donors. I have used many of the thoughtful gifts over the years (the first coolerbag was a winner and I'm currently enjoying the second edition) and I have given away others - like the cosy scarf and beanie that I received this winter; it went to our gardener.

If you can donate blood, do it. If you are excluded for some reason, it is not because they don't want your blood. It is because donating poses a health risk to you or the recipient.

Also add to your list to register as an organ donor. When you die, you won't be needing those organs and they'll change the life of someone who needs an organ. While you're at it, sign up for the bone marrow registry too. Even if you feel squeamish, just do it. You may be on the receiving side sometime and what a bugger it would be if you had a match out there who could save your life but they didn't register because they 'don't like needles'. Really? 

Blood donation is easy and doesn't take much time. Stock levels are always low. 

If there is anything that I have taught you from my posts over the years about blood donation it is to become a regular donor - safe for you and the recipient of your blood . 

They don't use your blood if you make a once-off donation. You MUST donate at least 3 times a year (max is 6).

What are you waiting for?

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

A trail piece for Trail magazine

I haven't done much trail writing for magazines for ages and so I was delighted to commit, a few weeks ago, to doing a piece for Trail magazine. Bogged down with work, I only got out this afternoon to take photos and run some trails with Rusty, my friend Karen and her dog (Rusty's friend) Skally.

Despite Deelfontein being on my doorstep (20 min drive from home), I don't get out here often. I really should because it is a gem. I have run and mountain biked here a few times. I do have it on my list to create an orienteering / rogaining map of this superb property. It is blessed with interesting features.

I'll post up magazine write-up when it comes out. For now, some photos from this afternoon.

Me and Rusty

Karen and Skally

Karen watching as Rusty trots towards me (I did ask her to stay with Karen so that I could take a photo...). My sweet dog.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Nice from far

I took this photo this evening.

Rusty and I were out, running on some of our regular roads and trails around town. I enjoy looking at this section of river - some great scenes with trees and rocks in the river.

It reminded me of the saying, "Nice from far, far from nice". We're in the midst of an ecological disaster. Our Vaal River has been heavily polluted by sewerage in the past few weeks. Thousands of fish have died, birds have moved away (good for them). I wonder how the river otters and likkewane (iguanas) are doing? And other creatures that can't just fly away.

Our Vaal river looks so pretty but at the moment it really is toxic - to birds, animals, fish and people. There is talk of it taking billions of rands to remedy. This won't happen overnight (or if at all). And the repercussions - on the economy, on nature on the environment...


While litter and the state of the river make me sad and mad, there are lovely things to see about town on my regular runs with Rusty - like this bottle tree. I caught it in lovely light yesterday evening.

And I like to get Rusty to sit on park benches so that I can take photos of her.

Parys parkrun cleanup

Two weeks ago we held a cleanup on the bottom section of our Parys parkrun route. Our route is open to the public and so it gets really littered.

Trash either comes from the fishermen along the bank, people passing through and those that take trash bags from outside houses and then rip through them in the area, leaving the contents on the floor. Yes, it is disgusting.

We arrange cleanups every few months as the municipality intermittently empties the few trash bins around but they don't pick up the rest of the rubbish.

During this cleanup, we filled something like 30 black bags with thanks to our parkrun volunteers.

Unfortunately this is something we're going to have to keep doing regularly because littering behaviours take a long, long time to change. A week after the cleanup there is already litter along the route - not as bad, but the start of it again. *sigh*

This section was my mission - under this big mulberry tree. Layers of trash! We did good here.

With half of the bags full of trash collected from the section around the three bridges and under the mulberry tree.
The ever supportive Parys Gazette featured our cleanup.
Another recent snippet in the paper ahead of our 200th Parys parkrun (which was on 11 Aug). Our 4th birthday is coming up soon.