Johnathan David, 62, was motivated to donate blood after the Spyros tanker explosion in 1978. He embarked on his blood donation journey in 1979, when he became eligible to donate blood. Committed to the cause of saving lives, he has made an incredible 209 blood donations over the last 44 years. To maintain his eligibility as a donor, Johnathan diligently upholds a healthy lifestyle, prioritising his nutrition and overall well-being. His passion for this noble cause has even inspired his loved ones to become blood donors too.
Johnathan David has selflessly donated blood over 209 times in the past 44 years, as of 2022. His remarkable acts of kindness have saved 627 lives, and he continues to donate monthly, rarely missing an appointment.
"It is a civic duty. I do my part by giving a part of myself. It feels good to know that it saves lives," said Johnathan.
A Selfless Blood Donor
Johnathan recounted that the tragic explosion of the Greek tanker, Spyros, at Jurong Shipyard in 1978 claimed the lives of 76 people and injured 69 others. Despite his earnest desire to help the survivors, he had to wait until he reached the minimum age of 19, as blood donation eligibility requirements in the 1970s dictated. In February of 1979, Johnathan finally made his first blood donation, and has been fully devoted to this noble cause ever since.
Johnathan started by donating whole blood quarterly. Subsequently, when the Health Service Authority opened the Apheresis Donation Centre, he was asked if he would be interested to switch to Apheresis donations, which involve the collection of specific components such as platelets, plasma, or red blood cells. Although Apheresis donations take up more time (around one and a half hours, compared to forty-five minutes for whole blood donations), Johnathan did not hesitate to step up to the plate, making him one of the pioneers of the programme. When he was asked to double the amount he donated, he gladly agreed to go the extra mile.
Johnathan, who had previously worked in different sectors, including risk management, the distribution of health-related products, military equipment, and as a driver, perceives blood donation as a civic duty to his country and fellow Singaporeans.
"My philosophy is 'if you can do some good for others, do it'. By giving blood, I can help others in their time of need. I derive immense satisfaction knowing that each blood donation can save up to three lives. It's an act of kindness that can make a huge difference in someone's life," he said.
However, there was a year when Johnathan David was unable to donate blood due to concerns that he may have contracted a mosquito-borne pathogen while trekking and camping in a forest in Malaysia. The doctor advised him to stop donating blood if he continued to trek and camp in Malaysia. This news was disappointing for Johnathan. However, a year later, after reading about blood shortage in the newspapers, he appealed to the Bloodbank@HSA that he had been healthy and well since they stopped him from donating because of his lifestyle. He gained permission to resume blood donations.
Since then, Johnathan has been visiting the blood donation centre every month, without fail. His unwavering commitment to this cause is inspiring.
"I believe it is an honour to donate blood to help others," he said.
Staying Healthy to Give Blood
To ensure that his blood is of the optimum quality to qualify for regular blood donations, he embraces a healthy lifestyle. He stays informed on the latest news in nutrition, overall wellness, and good health by reading avidly.
"I believe that by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, I can help more people," Johnathan says.
Outstanding Dedication to Blood Donation
Over the years, Johnathan has achieved several milestones.
"Each milestone holds a special place in my heart. I am proud and delighted to have accomplished the milestones," he said, recounting his fifth milestone.
Yet, the moment that stood out was when he received the Gold medallion for blood donors who have donated blood more than 100 times.
"My family members and I were overjoyed with this recognition. I felt appreciated for my contributions," he said.
At this year's World Blood Donor Day, Johnathan will be receiving the Medal for Life medallion for having made more than 200 blood donations.
Inspiring Action to Save Lives
Johnathan's steadfast dedication to the cause of blood donation has not gone unnoticed by those around him. Having witnessed the difference his donations have made, his friends and family members were inspired to follow in his footsteps. For those who are afraid to donate, he shares that there is nothing to fear and that this act of kindness saves lives.
Johnathan's unwavering dedication to maintaining his health and donating blood regularly has saved hundreds of lives, and his commitment and selflessness toward blood donation has inspired many others to support the cause. He is making the world a better place, one blood donation at a time.
By Elisa de Sousa Ribeiro Pinchemel, Volunteer
Copyedited by Dr Nguyen Kien Truc Giang, Volunteer
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