The Bloody Birthday Challenge (And the Special Bloody Snowflake Challenge)

By on Apr 3, 2018 in Blog Posts, Cancer | 4 comments

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I’ve been searching for a way I can “give back” which doesn’t involve having to interact much. Truth is, I’m unreliable these days: mostly I’m okay but there are times when the thought of leaving the house or interacting feels undoable.

Three weeks ago I hit upon the idea of donating blood and trying to replace the blood and platelets that Josh consumed during his illness. Actually I’ve wanted to donate blood for ages – I’ve just been procrastinating for the last twenty five years. Turns out it was a non event.

I hit a snag, though. I can only donate blood ever two months and platelet (if I get that far) once a month. I really wanted to be able to replace the blood products by 13 August because that would be Joshua’s 16th birthday. The date that he’d be able to donate if he didn’t…well you know. On my own I’ll get to three units. And I need to replace somewhere in  the region of thirty (Shannon says it’s more, but we are waiting for the SANBS to confirm).

So I’m being a bit cheeky today. I’ve set up two Facebook groups and I’m asking you to help me replace all the blood and platelets Josh used before his birthday on the 13 August.

Here’s how it works if you are able to donate blood:

  1. Sign up to the Bloody Birthday Challenge Facebook group.
  2. Take a selfie of yourself donating blood or platelets
  3. Post it to the group and then we count towards the total.

That’s it. Easy! Start here.

Now as expected, most of the first people to respond when I launched this on FB were the folks “who would love to but…”. Alas, though, you lot are not off the hook.

I’ve set up a second group: The Special Bloody Snowflake Challenge. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get someone (or many someones) to donate on your behalf. You can offer lifts, hold people’s hands, even run up behind strangers and steal their blood (although I’m sure that’s illegal so, seriously, don’t do that). Let’s see if despite your youth, old age, pregnancy, dread diseases or propensity to have sex with prostitutes,  you can beat the bold blood giving warriors.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up to the Special Bloody Snowflake Challenge Facebook Group
  2. Find an unsuspecting victim and ask, plead, bully etc them into donating blood (if you are a a position of power it is TOTALLY acceptable to threaten them with poor performance reviews / grades).
  3. Post a picture of your victims donating blood to the group and we will count it in.

It’s super easy. Start here.

I’m hoping to have the exact target in the next day or so and I’ll post it (together with some pretty amateur graphs on our performance) to both groups.

If you are outside SA you can still join either challenge. It wont refill the South African blood bank but it’ll help your own countries blood supply. And, if they are crazy drivers like in South Africa, they will be needing it right now.

Please, please, please help me with this. It feels like a way I can really keep Josh’s memory alive in a way he would approve of.

Sign up for the challenges and feel free to say “I’m in!” in the comments 🙂

First Blood Donation

If you ever thought about blood donation but it felt too scary to start…here's how my first donation played out.

Posted by My Garden Crush on Thursday, 29 March 2018


  1. ingrid reichman

    3rd April 2018

    Post a Reply

    I am a blood donor with 0- blood type, for this reason I cannot donate platelets as according to SANB services its too precious to split . I will take a selfie next time I go

  2. Lee

    4th April 2018

    Post a Reply

    Hey Penny – lovely initiative <3 I'm one of those who can't donate any longer due to own blood issues (used to donate platelets), but I have passed on this post link to others. Keep us updated!

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