Motorcycle crash turned him into regular blood donor
Grateful for the blood he received following an accident, blood donor Desmond Lim wants to return the favour
He nearly lost his life when he was run over by a lorry on his way to Bangkok on a motorcycle during a road trip with friends three years ago.
Doctors told Mr Desmond Lim that he would never walk again.
They were wrong.
After almost 15 months of surgery, treatment and rehabilitation in hospitals in Thailand and Singapore, Mr Lim has recovered. And today, he is able to walk, albeit slowly.
Although he cannot recall the exact number of bags of blood he required for his operations, Mr Lim understands that what blood donors gave helped to save him.
Mr Lim, 40, who used to donate blood only once a year, is now a regular donor and has given blood about eight times since 2014.
He donated blood again yesterday at Bloodbank@HSA, ahead of tomorrow's World Red Cross Day.
The former air steward, who is now a product specialist at an orthopaedic company, said: "After the accident, there was this strong urge to help in any way possible... I just want to give back to those who need it."
"Life is short.
"If you can do it, just do it... I will continue to donate until I can't," he said.
Mr Lim is also volunteering at a trauma support group at Singapore General Hospital, where he talks to, and helps, those who have gone through similar situations.
Even though he can walk, Mr Lim who is about 70 per cent recovered, has limited mobility.
He said: "Walking is painful, but I am used to it. My right leg is 3 to 4cm shorter, so I need custom shoes. Without shoes, I walk lopsidedly."
Also, Mr Lim cannot feel anything, except for pain, below his right knee.
He said: "Though I am disabled in a way, I can still contribute to society. This satisfaction isn't something money can buy."
FEAR OF NEEDLES
Mr Benjamin Lim, 28, a researcher, and his wife, Madam Lim Qing Xiu, 27, a housewife, are also regular donors.
Both had to overcome personal obstacles in their bid to help others: For Mr Lim, it was his fear of needles, while Madam Lim had to improve her haemoglobin count by taking iron supplements before she could give blood.
Mr Lim, who made his first blood donation at an event organised by his church in 2014, said he managed to overcome his fear of needles (he used to get "that jelly feeling" when he saw them) when he saw the enthusiasm of his fellow church members.
He said: "I realised that it was not as bad as I thought."
Now, the couple even take their three young children along to blood donations.
Mr Lim said: "Giving blood is like an act of love. We hope that this will inspire them to become donors when they grow up."
Their enthusiasm has obviously rubbed off on their five-year-old daughter, Alexis.
The little girl enjoyed being at a blood donation drive so much that she told her parents she wanted her birthday party to have a medical theme with an emphasis on donating blood.
Mr Benjamin William, secretary-general of Singapore Red Cross, said: "We are encouraged by the Lim family, who has woven regular blood donation into their lifestyle, thereby inspiring their young children to follow in their footsteps."
"I am also heartened by how blood recipients, such as Desmond, have stepped forth to give blood after their recovery," he said.
WHERE TO DONATE BLOOD
Health Sciences Authority (opposite Outram Park MRT Station)
11, Outram Road
Dhoby Xchange (near Exit B)
11, Orchard Road #B1-05 to 09
Woodlands Civic Centre (opposite Causeway Point)
900, South Woodlands Drive #05-07
Westgate Tower (Jurong East MRT Station, Exit D, walk through Westgate Mall)
1, Gateway Drive #10-01 to 05
Operating hours vary.