Shincheonji_Volunteers_Donating_Blood_in_Pietermaritzburg South Africa
Shincheonji_Volunteers_Donating_Blood_in_Pietermaritzburg South Africa. Image Supplied

Over 71,000 members of the youth volunteer group ‘WE ARE ONE’, headquartered in South Korea, have set a new Guinness World Records™ title for the most people to sign up online as blood donors within 24 hours… and they were supported by hundreds of South Africans in SA.

Image Supplied

‘WE ARE ONE’ which forms part of international church organisation, Shincheonji Church of Jesus, set a goal of 70,000 blood donations in an attempt to raise awareness of the importance of donating blood. Through their “Life ON Youth ON” donation campaign, the group wanted to help alleviate the blood shortage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide.

While 71,121 volunteers registered to donate within 24 hours on 1 October this year in South Korea, more than 700 of Shincheonji’s congregation members in South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe also participated in this campaign, and have also donated blood. African members of the church wanted to show their unity with this noble cause.

The initiative, which will literally help save lives, was welcomed by blood agencies in Southern Africa who have been struggling – like most of the world, according to a WHO report – to maintain sufficient blood stock levels since the pandemic started. According to SANBS, less than 1% of South Africans are active blood donors. The blood stock levels in SA for B+ and O+ are currently ‘significantly low’ at 3.6 days. At least five days’ worth of stock is required to be considered adequate.

Khulekani Zuma, a spokesperson for the South African Nation Blood Service said:

“I must say I am very moved by the Shincheonji Church initiative to break the World Record. I’m very proud and happy that they’ve taken this stance to try and save lives, not only by talking, but by taking action as well.”

Through an app called ‘Red Connect’, developed for the Korean Red Cross, volunteers registered online within 24 hours to donate blood. This is almost seven times the previous world record of 10,217 (8 hours) held by India.

Junsu Hong, the head of ‘WE ARE ONE’ said: “It was possible to achieve our goal not only because of the volunteers, but also the Korean Red Cross officials working at the forefront to solve the blood shortage and the IT company that developed an efficient blood donation application system.”

In South Korea, a total of 43,811 people completed their blood donation since the campaign started. The plan is to reach the goal of more than 71,000 people by November.

The official record can be viewed on the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ website here.

Donate blood in South Africa

SANBS says: “Less than 1% of South Africans are active blood donors. A unit of blood only lasts 42 days after donation and, for this reason, it is important for blood donors to donate regularly. Donors can give blood as often as every eight weeks. Every unit of blood can save a minimum of three lives as blood is separated into red blood cells, plasma and platelets.”

Find out how to donate your blood at SANBS