Meetup Group in Sydney!

In an ongoing attempt to grow the community of blood donors, we’ve started the Blood Donors Community Sydney meetup.com group to get Sydney-based blood donors together in real life. We’ve opened the membership up, but we’re keeping the group private — so only members get to see when the events are going to be held. The goal of the group is to set up some events where we’ll meet each other, exchange stories, network, and schedule a number of blood donation events.

If you’re keen to join and meet more blood donors in Sydney, please join the group and lets schedule the first event!

What: Blood Donors Community Sydney
Where: https://www.meetup.com/Blood-Donors-Community-Sydney/
Why: Bring together blood donors in Sydney and encourage more people to keep giving!

See you in the first meetup!

What is RedJeans?

Hi, It’s Dean again.

It’s the second day and I realised I wanted to write more about what I’m trying to achieve with RedJeans that’s different from what other people are already doing. Here’s a quick list of things I’m trying to achieve with this effort — which I sincerely hope you’ll join me in!

  • Get more people donating blood. I understand there are a lot of issues around blood donation which I hope we can get more knowledgeable people speaking out and dispelling a lot of the myths around it. There’s also a reality that not everyone knows that donating blood is a thing you can do! Raising awareness of the benefits for the donor, the life-saving goodness of the donated blood, and understanding the impact of the stories of the people affected by the availability of blood are all in line with the mission of the site.
  • Build communities around blood donation. The act of donating blood is very self-fulfilling and I’ve always wondered why there isn’t more celebration around it. I’d like to help people build connections around blood donation, to get together, talk about giving blood, and working with the institutions that manage the blood to ensure we have ample supply around the world. Blood has a six-week shelf-life and unless we have a constant stream of donations coming through, this life-saving resource can run dangerously low.
  • Celebrate the journey. Lots of people have a story around a family member, a loved one, a friend, a colleague, or themselves being affected by the act of receiving (or donating!) life-saving blood transfusions. In the US, 4.5 million people could die each year without receiving life-saving blood transfusions. In Australia, where I live, 1/3 of the population will need at least one blood transfusion in their lifetime. We want to highlight the story of the people who are willing to share their experience and their story.
  • Run events to bring people together. I love myself a good meet-up, and I really think that blood donation is better done when it’s done together. Being there supporting each other and coming in with a purpose and forming bonds around this selfless act of donating blood should be an act we should celebrate.
  • Encourage health and well-being to be a blessing to those in need. Being able to give blood is a blessing that I believe we should encourage more people to share. I believe that a strong motivator (especially for me) to become and stay healthy is so that I can keep donating blood while I can, to pay it forward. If like me you feel a strong pull to be healthy enough to donate blood regularly, I’d like to help you with information, community, and encouragement.

Because it’s still the early days of the project, there’s a lot of ideas floating around that I am frantically writing down on paper and digital notebooks, thinking about strategies to help the get the word out, and hoping that more people sympathetic to the cause will join me in this journey. I’m in the process of learning about the process of setting up a non-profit organisation in Australia, thinking about ways to bootstrap the operation so that we can get events scheduled in venues, looking for people to work with at the Red Cross here in Australia, and all the fun things I could be doing!

For now, RedJeans is just a website, and I’d really like to make it so much more in the coming days, weeks, months, and years!

If you have experience in these things and would like to be part of the organisation and administrative details, please reach out to team@redjeans.org or send a direct message to the @redjeansorg account on Twitter. For now it will be me who’ll be responding to these messages, and I’ll appreciate your feedback and support!

I’m diving in head-first into this and documenting the learning process here — and hopefully I’ll have more things to announce soon!

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

It’s Dean and I’m writing to thank you for coming to redjeans.org — this is my passion project which I’ve been incubating for a while and wanted to see through.

This is the first entry in the blog and I wanted to share the genesis for why I’ve decided to go on this journey. A little bit of history is in order.

I was born in the Philippines and was lucky enough to be born at a fairly sophisticated hospital in a large metropolitan city: Manila. My mom, in the process of giving birth to me, had haemorrhaged and needed a significant amount of blood transfused to survive the ordeal. Needless to say, this journey is personal for me.

I named the site Red Jeans because my mom’s name is Jean and I owe a great debt of gratitude to the anonymous blood donors, without whom my mother could have perished, that fateful day decades ago. I could have lost my mom then and 30+ years in I’m inspired to do something to encourage more people to donate blood regularly.

The vision I have in my head when I get the chance to donate blood myself is that someday soon the blood might help another mother giving birth and give them a chance to be around to raise their child. I think about what that mother might still be able to do and the life the child will have with that mother. I wish they have the same chances my mom and I did throughout my wonderful life.

This effort is very near and dear to my heart and I’m sure you know someone or you yourself might have needed blood transfusions.

The sad reality is that there’s usually not enough blood available to fill the demand throughout the world. I want to be part of the solution here and I’m devoting time and some resources to kick this project off.

Now I come to the part where I ask for your help.

If you would like to contribute, please do so in the following ways:

  • Help publicise the cause. In social media, please use the hashtag #RedJeans in your story for how someone you know, or how you yourself, have needed blood transfusions and how it’s affected your life.
  • Organise a blood donation drive or get friends and colleagues together to donate blood. Post pictures of your excursion and celebration on social media and use the hashtag #RedJeans and tell people about the effort.
  • Help with content on the site — if you’d like your article to appear on the site, please reach out to the team@redjeans.org and we’ll work with you to get your article published.
  • Organisation and Administration — if you’re in Sydney and are passionate about this cause and would like to be part of the administrative parts of the effort, please reach out and let’s get together.

In the next few days I’ll continue to add content and get more of the organisational bits going. In the meantime please follow @readjeansorg on Twitter to stay up to date with the efforts.

Thank you for reading!

— Dean Berris, redjeans.org founder.