Only 25 percent of voluntary blood donors are women. Among them is actress Anna Cieślak, who, together with the Polish Red Cross, dispels myths about donations. – Collections take place in sterile, very friendly conditions – he says.
Aleksandra Zalewska-Stankiewicz, “Wprost”: When did you start donating blood?
Anna Cieślak: I donated blood for the first time as a high school student – I was studying at the 6th Secondary School in Szczecin. My friend, who was already an experienced blood donor, took me to my first blood donation. I gladly took him up on his offer, especially since I had never been afraid of needles. I assumed that if I could share a part of myself with someone, there was nothing to think about. Especially since it turned out that there is a great demand for my O Rh + blood group.
From that moment on, did you regularly go to the blood donation point?
This happened many times. The situation changed when I went to Krakow to study at the State Theater School. It was a very intense time, blood donation took a back seat. Until my dad became seriously ill. It turned out that blood was needed so that doctors could operate on him.
Did you donate blood to your dad?
Determinations were underway as to which family members could do this. It turned out that our blood groups were compatible. I remember that I decided to donate without hesitation, not thinking that I would start shooting for the film the next day. Despite the stress related to my dad’s situation, I went to work in the morning. The operation was successful, everything ended happily, dad is healthy. I remember that after donating blood, I received a whole box of chocolates. Their taste was unique. Chocolates for blood donors are different than those available in stores, they are prepared according to different recipes.
A few days ago, you donated blood at the Regional Center for Blood Donation and Blood Treatment in Warsaw, also to encourage others to do the same. Have you been cooperating with the Polish Red Cross for a long time?
Last year, employees of the Polish Red Cross asked me if I would take part in the “I do not exclude” campaign. Its aim was to draw attention to the fact that every sixth woman in Poland does not have hygienic products needed during menstruation. I thought back to my school days, when girls borrowed tampons and pads during physical education classes. I also remember that in high school, admitting to teachers that you were “indisposed” was very embarrassing. It was similar at the Theater Academy. The students didn’t talk about it, even during acrobatics lessons, so that no one would think they were weaker. These memories came back to me, along with the Polish Red Cross campaign. In general, I like the way this organization promotes blood donation.
Only 25 percent of blood donors are women. What actions are you taking together to change this?
Among other things, we encourage women to participate in the national competition “The Power of Blood”. As part of the competition, honorary blood donors donate blood and encourage other women to donate: friends, mothers, daughters, sisters, neighbors. The competition lasts until February 29, and the winners will be announced on March 8. I encourage all ladies to participate. Especially since if someone has no contraindications to donating blood, it does not pose any health risk.
What would you tell people who are afraid of their first donation?
Collections take place in sterile, very friendly conditions. That’s why medical staff are there to prevent any situation from harming patients. During the medical interview, basic tests are performed. It happened several times that I couldn’t donate blood because the results indicated a viral condition in my body. These things happen. But you can’t get discouraged.
How often do you donate blood?
I try not to do it during rehearsals, performances, premieres, because then my body is tired. It is best to do this after recovery. Or on a day when we can lie down and read. Let’s remember that the blood donor’s body has to do some work, but it can handle it easily. You just need to provide him with peace and rest. Sometimes we forget that in order to help someone, we need to be well prepared. It’s similar with blood. If we are rested, well hydrated, after a light breakfast, our blood will also be of better quality.