It’s in their blood to donate and save lives
Singapore Red Cross honours 1,600 people in its inaugural digital Blood Donor Hall of Fame, including two who have made it a monthly ritual
Mr Yahya Abdul Rahman is among the top blood donors in Singapore, having donated blood more than 200 times over the past 32 years.
He was 34 when he started his blood donation journey as he wanted to help his friend's sibling who needed a blood transfusion.
In celebration of World Blood Donor Day today, Mr Yahya, 66, alongside more than 1,600 blood donors here, have been featured in the Singapore Red Cross' (SRC) inaugural digital Blood Donor Hall of Fame.
One of several new digital initiatives introduced by the organisation this year to reach and engage the next generation of donors, it serves to recognise and honour contributions of champion donors to the National Blood Programme.
Mr Yahya was also one of 16 recipients of the Medal for Life Award, the highest form of recognition for blood donors.
After donating whole blood for a period of time, his doctor encouraged him to try apheresis donation, which focuses on platelet and plasma donation.
Apheresis donors donate about 500ml to 600ml of plasma and platelets over an hour, while whole blood donors donate 350ml to 450ml of blood over five to 10 minutes.
As platelets and plasma replenish more quickly, he is able to engage in apheresis donations once every four weeks, compared with whole blood donations once every three months.
Mr Yahya feels that donating blood is his way of giving back to society, as "we may not know of the extent to which our blood can help save lives".
He told The New Paper: "I do not think that age is a concern when it comes to donating blood. As long as I am healthy, I will continue to do so.
"It has become a routine habit for me. I would feel that something is missing if I missed a donation."
There were 64 donors who received the Diamond Award, the third-highest form of recognition.
One of them, Ms Joyce Sng, 43, became aware of the need for regular donors when her late father required blood transfusions.
The part-time fitness trainer told TNP: "After his death almost 20 years ago, I was motivated to donate blood on a more regular basis to help others and save lives."
She has since donated blood more than 100 times.
MADE THE SWITCH
Upon realising that her AB+ blood type was suited towards platelets and plasma donation five years ago, Ms Sng made the switch from whole blood donations to apheresis donations, and it has since become a monthly affair for her.
She has also continued to donate blood during the pandemic, especially when she found out blood stocks had dipped to a critical level last year.
Mr Benjamin William, SRC's chief executive and secretary-general, said: "It is heartening to witness the continuous growth of our blood donor population, from more than 41,000 in 2001 to over 72,000 in 2020 - a remarkable 72 per cent increase over the last two decades."