For me, the Step Up Reach Out (SURO) program was a huge and diverse experience, and I can freely say that this program equipped me with a wider knowledge of bleeding disorder and leadership skills. Both the formal and informal sides of SURO were valuable to me. In a formal way, I think I completed SURO with an extensive knowledge of bleeding disorders, and in an informal way, I met many new friends with whom I made a social network from which our communities and we may benefit in the future.
As all participants needed to make a project, I wanted mine to be something specific and unique. My project was organizing World Hemophilia Day (WHD) in 2015 with my colleagues from the Serbian Hemophilia Community. We had a great team working on the project, and I am proud that I was part of it. We received a grant from one foundation, and we made a deal that we needed to give our maximum effort to justify expectations and make WHD 2015 much more different than the others.
The first part of our project was a roundtable. We gathered many stakeholders in our country so that they could have a discussion about the conditions of people with bleeding disorders in Serbia and the associated problems, as well as solutions for solving those problems.
The next part was connected with the shopping center “Usce” in Belgrade. It is the biggest shopping mall in Serbia, and we chose it because of its traffic and visibility. There, we held a gathering with a big 3D imitation of a drop of blood. The point of the 3D imitation was to attract the attention of people who were in that area and passing by near our gathering. So, they came by and signed a drop of blood as a symbol of their support.
The second one was “Ada Bridge.” We succeeded in lighting it up completely in red as a symbol of bleeding. The whole bridge, which is the most beautiful and one of the biggest in Serbia, was flashing in red on the night of WHD. It was a great feeling to see a structure like that flashing in the color of WHD.
The final part was about the National Assembly. We also decided to “color” it in red. The reason why we chose the National Assembly is very simple – it is one of the most important political and social institutions in our country, and on this day we wanted to send a message to the state, society and stakeholders: Every person has a right to have a normal, highly inclusive life.
My opinion is that programs and projects like SURO have proven to be very helpful, and all stakeholders need to make an effort to make many more projects like this one.