Honouring our blood donors
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As Singapore celebrates its Jubilee Year, Singapore Red Cross (SRC) and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) are calling on more youth to succeed the current generation to become future life-long donors.

Graced by Minister for Health, Mr Gan Kim Yong, the 12th World Blood Donor Day held at the Singapore Discovery Centre on 6 June honoured 1,554 Champion Donors and 262 bloodmobile organisers. Mr David Ong, Member of Parliament for Jurong GRC presented awards to Silver and Bronze award recipients that afternoon.

Currently, Singapore needs 316 units of blood every day. Over 120,000 units of blood is required for the year. With an ageing population, the demand for blood will continue to rise. It is estimated that the number of blood donations have to be expanded by almost two-fold by 2030 to meet future blood demand. While the number of youth donors has grown from 16,091 on 2001 to 20,452 in 2014, more has to be done to inspire people to take the first step to donate blood.

“Blood is a precious healthcare resource that only selfless and altruistic people can provide.  We hope that our youth will be inspired by the actions of the previous and current generations and come forward to donate blood,” said Mr Tee Tua Ba, Chairman, Singapore Red Cross.

INSPIRED TO TAKE THE FIRST STEP

Taking the first step to donate blood usually involves a certain element of courage. Yet, it will only be meaningful if it comes from the heart.

Blood donors are driven by different motivations; some were inspired by their family members who are blood donors; some made their first blood donations in the army; some donated blood because blood drives were held in school; some had family members who were blood recipients; a handful were blood recipients turned blood donors.

An inspiring story of a blood recipient turned blood donor is Mr Ang Lian Seng. He was involved in a near fatal accident in 1975 which resulted in a severely fractured hip.

“I am alive today because I received blood at the right time. Without sufficient blood stocks in the hospital I would have met a different fate. Now that I am healthy, donating blood is my way of giving back to society,” said Mr Ang Lian Seng, 58, who received the Medal for Life award for donating blood 206 times. Mr Ang had also encouraged his 27 and 35 year old sons to donate blood

A CARNIVAL FOR THE FAMILY

It was the first time that the World Blood Donor Day was held at the Singapore Discovery Centre. Though it is situated at the far end of Singapore, at Upper Jurong Road specifically, thousands of blood donors thronged the event with their families. The experience was an eye-opener for many as the Singapore Discovery Centre commanded a picturesque view of the lake, exuding an air of tranquility. Along the way, interesting ‘Did You Know?’ facts about Singapore dotted the landscape.

There was a carnival which included an exhibition gallery, army museum, movie screenings, bus tours and games stalls. Fringe activities included the animal ride, bouncing castle, El Paso Train, photo taking opportunities with Blood Buddies and Star Wars. Blood donors and their families enjoyed the carnival and fringe activities.