Students in USP, Tembusu and Angsana Colleges at UTown are organising a blood donation drive at the Multi-Purpose Sports Hall this week, Wed 07 Nov 2012: 12.00pm – 6.00pm and Fri 09 Nov 2012: 9.00am to 3.00pm.
Kudos to them and all who come forward to donate!
This is something I wrote in support of their campaign:
“Bleeding every three months – an easy way to help”
by N. Sivasothi,
Dept. Biological Sciences & Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research,
National University of Singapore
I was in primary school when I saw my father donate at the blood bank. The quick process managed by cheery nurses resulted in a life-saving packet of blood. I was intrigued, and on the wall, the names of Champion Donors beckoned to me to chip in. I was too young and when I hit 18, was whisked away into the army the same week. Thankfully we were let out two weeks later, and I rushed down to donate my 430 ml of blood. It was December 1984.
Ever since then, I’ve made my way to Outram every three months to donate blood, come rain or shine. I’ve only stayed away if I felt even mildly unwell, lacked sleep or if on field work in regional, malaria-risk areas. Once, nurses said I had “great veins” and switched me to platelet donation (plateletpheresis). During my second donation, they rushed in to stop it halfway with the news that test results had indicated my platelet count was too low for me to donate! So it was back to whole blood donation.
In September this year, I was accompanied to my 109th Blood donation by my freshly graduated honours student, Amanda Tan. A fear of needles had kept her away all this while but she had seen the many calls for donors on my blog when national stocks ran low – which is during rainy spells and the monsoon (people stay indoors), long holiday weekends (people are away), the fasting month of Ramadhan (fewer Muslim donors) and the festive season (people stay away). During the latter, an increase in road accidents further raises the demand on blood stocks.
Amanda was motivated to help, but didn’t overcome her fear of needles. She just looked away and a second later smiled cheerfully as blood flowed into her packet, right next to mine. She has the makings of a regular donor!
The Health Sciences Authority and Singapore Red Cross haven’t been idle this past decade. Process efficiency has increased at Outram, donation hours have been extended, procedures udpated and improved, two new blood centres opened at Woodlands and Dhoby Ghaut, and three more satellite centres are promised in future. Meanwhile, a youth appeal programme has seen youth donors increase to about 30% of blood donor population. The target is to increase that to 35%.
And amidst the hustle and bustle of academic life, it’s great to know NUS students will be contributing their blood too, and right at our door step. Have a great sesion at Angsana College!