More demand for blood, fewer donors
1,257 people who achieved milestone blood donations honoured on World Blood Donor Day
Once every three weeks, Ms Kymn Yee, 39, visits the National University Hospital to receive a transfusion of three units of blood.
A Thalassemia patient, Ms Yee has relied on the generosity of blood donors all her life.
Thalassemia is a blood disorder that affects the flow of oxygen around the body.
Ms Yee, an educator, thanked blood donors at a World Blood Donor Day event at the Singapore Sports Hub on Saturday.
It was jointly organised by the Singapore Red Cross and the Health Sciences Authority, which run the National Blood Programme.
"The blood helps us carry on with our lives as per normal, and there are lot of things we cannot do without it. The donations help us not just with special things but day-to-day activities as well," Ms Yee told The New Paper.
At the event, 1,257 donors were honoured for their milestone donations.
They had made a minimum of 25 donations each, and 13 of the donors honoured received the Medal of Life award for making more than 200 donations each.
Last year, 73,587 individuals donated blood, contributing blood to about 30,000 patients.
BLOOD USAGE GROWING
According to the National Blood Programme, Singapore's blood usage is growing at a rate of about 3 per cent to 5 per cent annually, and an estimated 118,750 units are needed this year.
Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong, who attended the event, noted that Singapore's aging population means that the demand for blood will increase as the number of blood donors decreases.
Yearly, about 600 regular donors have to stop donating blood for age-related reasons.
One award recipient was Mr Zohair Mohsinally, 51.
He has Rh negative blood, a blood type which less than 1 per cent of the population here has.
He said: "I have blood from a rare group that is not easily available, but it does not matter whether your blood is rare or not. Everyone should donate, as it is the least we can do for the community."
Another award recipient, Mr Gordon Ho, 34, drew the attention of the crowd as he received his award in a Sandtrooper costume.
"The first donation was scary, but after a while, I got the hang of the process," said the telecommunications engineer and member of the 501st Legion, a worldwide organisation of Star Wars fans.
"The legion is frequently involved in charity work. Sometimes, we even go for blood donation drives together."
Information on blood donations can be found at giveblood.sg.