I’m so thankful for my discovery of the Pledge 25 Club because it changed what blood donation meant to me. It mattered more and became part of who I was as I became more and more involved with my club in Zimbabwe.
So, in 2009, I was devastated when I lost my anemic mother due to an empty blood bank. This changed my mind even further. It was a sad experience and now the need for blood had a face, a story behind it…the memory of one of the most important women in my life; my mother.
My blood donation journey didn’t begin after we buried my mother. I had begun donating six years prior. Her death did, however, ignite a passion in me to prevent other children from experiencing the pain of losing a loved one because there simply wasn’t blood.
The old saying ‘you can be near the church, but very far away from God’ seems very fitting for my life as a blood donor.
My blood donation journey began on the 10th of June, 2003. I was 16 years old and donated at the urging of my friend and classmate who was a peer promoter and blood donor. Prior to that I had heard about blood donation from my uncle, Peter Mukadzambo – a blood donor recruiter. Years later, my brother, Tinashe Mukadzambo, shared his stories of blood donation and ‘the Club’.
After my first donation I discovered giving blood was such a pleasurable experience. The prick of the needle, which is the part I had been afraid of most, was not as painful as the injections we would get when we fall sick. The look at my blood pack, and the knowledge that it was going to save a life gave me a feeling of pleasure and pride. I vowed to continue with this heroic action, as long as I got the opportunity and I did each time the blood donation team visited our school.
In 2005 during my long holiday awaiting O level results, I learnt about Pledge 25 Club through a neighbour. After attending one of the Pledge 25 Club meetings, I decided to be a full-time volunteer, helping with club compiling, filing and the communication of Club-related issues. By the third meeting my passion for Pledge 25’s purpose had grown so I helped with the formation of Club cells. In 2006, I was selected as the secretary for zone Dzivarasekwa and in 2007 I became the zone Dzivarasekwa chairperson. By 2008 I became the Harare Branch Chairperson and for three consecutive years (2009-2012) I served as the Secretary General of Pledge 25 Club Zimbabwe.
EMPOWERING YOUNG WOMEN TO CHANGE THE WORLD
Before becoming club secretary general, I used to tag along with the Customer Relations Officers when they visited the blood donor collection sites such as schools, churches and community groups. Then one day I volunteered to speak to girls at Langham Girls High School and surprised them with a brilliant question and answer session. That is when I discovered my hidden skills in coaching the youth, particularly female children.
Addressing high school pupils
I was challenged when I learnt that few ladies fulfill their pledge. I concluded that the major reason women do not make it to 25 donations is because of an unsupportive partner who did not understand the importance of blood donation. I saw this countless times, even among friends, including a fellow office bearer who initially made the commitment but stopped when her boyfriend, who was not a blood donor, was not comfortable with her attending youth functions. He asked her to choose between him and the Club, and for my friend the boyfriend carried the day. She stopped after just four donations.
I am blessed to have formed a relationship with Liberty Chimedza who supported me all the way. Before we met, Liberty had donated once or twice for refreshments, but when he discovered my passion and heard my story he opted to become a regular blood donor. I am proud to say I made it to 25 donations because of him and by then he had already donated twenty times!
Not only did I fulfill my pledge, I was able to accomplish my dream of doing so before Liberty and I were married – coincidentally the day before. I gave my 25th donation on August 4, 2014 and attended the 25th award ceremony where I received my treasured certificate and plaque on the eve of my wedding day, the 29th of August.
Nomusa and Liberty Nomusa’s pledge certificate and shield.
As long as I am eligible to donate, NBSZ is assured of my unit: in fact they will be two on each visit! I also encourage other young women to become blood donors and be part of this wonderful family of life-savers.