CHIJ students organise blood donation drive , Latest Singapore News

This holiday season, do something wonderful: Give blood.

That's what a group of young students are hoping Singaporeans will do amid the festivities.

The 70 CHIJ St Theresa's Convent students are organising a blood donation drive themed "A Drop of Love" to encourage more Singaporeans - especially the young - to step forward to donate blood.

The drive will be held tomorrow at *Scape.

This is the second consecutive year that students from the school are partnering the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) to organise a Christmas blood donation drive.

Last year, 84 units of blood were collected. This year, the target is 100 units of blood.

According to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), Singaporeans need about 400 units of blood a day.

Blood donations tend to fall during festive periods. Every year during this period, blood donations drop by as much as 20 per cent, the Red Cross said.

The need for donations become even more pressing when set against a growing demand for blood. It was reported in June that blood usage has increased at an annual rate of 3 to 5 per cent.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said during a World Blood Donor Day event on June 10 that it is harder to meet the demand with a greying population.

  • WHAT: A Truly Magical Christmas Blood Donation Drive

    WHERE: *Scape, The TreeTop, Level 5

    WHEN: Tomorrow, noon to 6pm

    You can also donate blood at any of the four blood banks in Singapore. Visit giveblood.sg for more information.

Another reason: Fewer young people are donating blood.

The HSA said the number of donors aged 16 to 25 decreased by 13 per cent between 2012 and 2016. Last year, less than two per cent of the population donated blood.

Mr Benjamin William, SRC chief executive officer and secretary-general, said: "Young people in Singapore today do not see blood donation as a priority due to their many commitments such as career and studies."

He added that a lack of time and awareness of the importance of blood donation are common reasons why they are not donating blood.

Some also have a fear of needles and blood, or misconceptions that they have to go on a special diet before donating blood or that they may have insufficient blood for themselves after donation.

Secondary 3 student councillors Glenda Dharma, Lim Meng Zhen and Ashley Soh are part of the planning committee for the donation drive at *Scape.

Glenda, 15, said: "A drop of blood can make a big impact on other's lives and we hope to spread this message of love."

Meng Zhen, 15, added: "Though we can't donate blood as we are underage, we hope to play a part in helping save lives."

The eligible age for blood donation is 16 to 60 years. Donors have to be in good health and should not have travelled to malaria-affected areas in the last four months.

The students have collected blood donation pledges from the public in Orchard Road and also designed and distributed brochures. They managed to collect more than a 100 pledges.

Ashley, 15, said: "We are very heartened to have received so many pledges for the event and we hope that more people will continue to come forward."

Said Mr William: "We are very appreciative of the students' hard work and enthusiasm which will help to mitigate the seasonal dip."