PORT MORESBY – Port Moresby has caught basketball fever. The Taurama Aquatic & Indoor Centre has been seeing a lot more visitors lately thanks to the Basketball Federation of Papua New Guinea’s (BFPNG) Twilight Basketball program.
This past week, BFPNG teamed up with the Port Moresby General Hospitals’ Sir Brian Bell Foundation (SBBF) Youth Blood Drive. This program is aimed at getting the youth of PNG, aged 16-25, to engage in social responsibility and become lifetime blood donors supporting their community.
“The Blood Drive event is about more than just giving blood,” commented BFPNG Executive Officer Joel Khalu. “It is about bringing awareness regarding the importance of maintaining healthy life habits.”
This partnership created the opportunity for people to donate blood at last Friday’s Twilight Basketball session. Not only was every volunteer given the chance to help the 1 in 3 people who will need blood in their lifetime, every blood donor received a ‘mini-physical’ prior to donation, which includes checking haemoglobin levels, blood glucose levels, weight and blood pressure. These tests are part of educating donors on how to live a healthy lifestyle.
“Their health messaging aligns perfectly with what we already endorse through our Hoops for Health program, so it makes sense for us to partner with Port Moresby General Hospital and the SBBF Youth Blood Drive initiative,” added Khalu.
50 generous people volunteered to give blood during the event with a total of 18 bags being collected. Many of the Papua New Guinea U18s team members got involved by becoming donors themselves.
“It was fantastic to have so many people, young people in particular, come down and support the cause by donating blood,” commented Khalu. “Hopefully more young people will follow the lead and example set by our basketball players and also give blood."
All donors were rewarded for their efforts with the choice of a free pair of basketball shorts or BFPNG branded t-shirt.
The BFPNG Twilight Basketball program is a Hoops for Health initiative made possible through the support of FIBA’s foundation, the International Basketball Foundation (IBF) and funding through the Australian Government’s Pacific Sports Partnership program.