A colleague with good heart

April 2023

Meet Daniel Gacek, our colleague from Krakow and a top blood donor.

Daniel gave blood for the first time on 13 January 2015. And he hasn’t stopped since.

I will always remember the first time I donated blood. I answered a friend’s call on Facebook to donate blood. The next day I was at the Regional Center for Blood Donation and Treatment in Krakow (RCKiK). I remember the friendliness of the staff which helped me to relax because I must admit, I don’t really like it when blood is taken from me. Once done, I felt like a hero, like I did something good. That’s when I caught the bug.

Daniel has been an honorary blood donor for eight years. In total, he has given blood 62 times for a total volume of about 30 litres (including the whole blood29 times and platelets 30 times).

The cause became even more personal for Daniel when, on 13 January this year, his six-year-old goddaughter Laura was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. For some patients with blood disorders or going through chemotherapy, transfusions play a very important role in treatment. Without them, it would not be possible to continue the treatment. But Laura responds very well to her treatment and statistics show that among children, the disease is curable in 90% of the cases.

The more the better

Becoming more aware of how important blood collection is and how the blood supply is sometimes lacking, Daniel was determined to do something, and he decided to organise his first blood donation campaign which ArcelorMittal becoming the sponsor (this and all the following ones). “I was curious to see how it will go and to get more people giving their blood. I first went to several blood donation campaigns to see how it works especially from the organiser side” explains Daniel.

Organising a blood donation campaign indeed requires a lot of commitment, time and energy. It needs planning, logistic, promotion on social media, search for donors... and when done, you must summarise, analyse, and prepare the next one. It is usually planned 6 months in advance. “Yes, it’s a lot of work says Daniel, many invisible tasks that are very important. But I am ok with that, I love challenges and I am the type of person for whom the more you have to do, the better!”

As of now, Daniel has collected approximately 139 litres through his blood campaigns. Since March 26, 2023 has been running the sixth blood campaign with actions in three different locations.

A commitment recognised and a growing movement

In July 2021, Daniel received the highest honors in blood donation: the Medal of Merit for the Health of the Nation. The decoration is granted by the Minister of Health to people who donated at least 20 litres of blood and in recognition of outstanding merits for saving human life and health and activity in the blood donation movement.
The same year he founded the Club of Honorary Blood Donors of the Polish Red Cross Opatkowice - Krakow, of which he became the president. With the help of members and volunteers, the club aims to fulfil the basic statutory tasks of the Red Cross: ensuring blood self-sufficiency in Poland.