Raqeeb Palm, 4, of Cape Town needs regular blood transfusions.
For the past two years, Raqeeb Palm, 4, of Cape Town has been receiving blood transfusions regularly.

This was after he was diagnosed with Aplastic anaemia in 2016, after his mother, Zaida Palm, noticed abnormal bruising and petechial rash (bleeding under the skin).

Raqeeb, who needs a stem cell transplant, has so far been unable to find a match, both locally and internationally, but thanks to many South Africans who donate blood, Raqeed’s condition has stabilised and he no longer needs blood regularly.

“I will forever be grateful to every person who donates blood and platelets,” says Palm.

It is because of cases like that of Raqeed that the FNB Varsity Cup, the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) and the Western Province Blood Transfusion Service (WPBTS) have partnered and initiated a new blood donation initiative to increase blood donation among South Africa’s youth.

As part of the initiative, the FNB Varsity Cup organisers have since February been running a blood donation competition across South African universities.

The university with the most blood donors will win the inaugural Gaz’Lam Trophy on behalf of their team. The Gaz’Lam Trophy stands for "Igazi Lami", which means one’s blood brother in IsiZulu.

This will provide a platform for young South African sportsmen and students to be heroes — saving the lives of many people who are in need.

Blood donation remains a challenge in South Africa with less than one percent of the population giving blood - meaning the blood transfusion services are constantly in need of regular donations.

So far the competition has led to over 34 719 people donating blood specifically on behalf of their favourite FNB Varsity Cup teams. This monumental effort has helped save over 100 000 lives.