Undergrads lead blood donation drives as Red Cross appeals to youth
They spearhead campaign as Red Cross looks to the young for help
Having come across a plea by the Singapore Red Cross for more blood donors in 2019, Miss Marie Tan, 19, and Miss Tan Boyi, 21, decided to rise to the call and spearhead their own blood donation campaign.
The pair had just completed their A levels and wanted to make the most of their break.
Miss Marie, who is studying medicine at the University of Adelaide, told The New Paper: "We did a lot of research and realised blood is indeed a precious resource.
"That was why we were motivated to organise the blood drive and make it a success."
Their first blood drive in February last year saw 100 units of blood collected, among which were 43 first-time donations. It was the duo's first time donating blood that day too.
Miss Boyi, a civil engineering student at the National University of Singapore, said: "I wasn't afraid at first, but when I actually (sat) on the chair and saw how big the needle was, I got scared.
"But since we started this blood drive and are representatives of the cause, I knew I couldn't back out. In the end, it wasn't that painful."
In January, Singapore Red Cross revealed a refreshed look for its official blood donation mascot, Blood Buddy, which is also the face of the organisation's new One More Step campaign.
Mr Benjamin William, secretary-general and chief executive of Singapore Red Cross, said: "We are hoping to reach the youth at the beginning of their blood donation journey and encourage them to adopt a long-term commitment to blood donation from a young age... to make it a part of their lifestyles and also inspire more of their peers to join them."
According to him, about 15 units of blood are used every hour of the day, resulting in about 120,000 units of blood required to meet the transfusion needs of patients every year.
Despite the pandemic, 72,130 individuals donated blood last year (equivalent to 1.78 per cent of Singapore's residential population) - a number consistent with previous years.
Miss Marie and Miss Boyi were encouraged by the turnout for their second blood drive on Dec 26 last year, when 113 units of blood were collected and 32 first-time donors showed up.
Miss Marie felt the ability to relate to young people is important, especially since they are potentially more receptive to donating blood.
Miss Boyi said: "Age is not an issue because I have seen those as young as 16 stepping forward. But at that age, parental consent is needed and sometimes parents have misconceptions that donating blood is not safe."
The women are working towards debunking such misconceptions, with their next drive scheduled for July 24.