Having accompanied his mother on her trips to the bloodbank to donate blood in his teens, Edwin Sia could hardly wait till he turned 16 to be eligible for blood donation. He shares his experience of following in the footsteps of his mother, a former regular blood donor and what keeps him going. At this year's World Blood Donor Day, he received the YOUTHphoria Award; a newly established award, for having made more than 20 blood donations before the age of 25.
Edwin Sia, 22, used to accompany his mother to the bloodbank when he was 14 or 15. His elder brother is also a regular blood donor.
"I could hardly wait till I turned 16, when I could finally donate blood! I was keen to do it as it would help others," he said.
Edwin recounted his first blood donation experience, when he turned 16 and joined his mother in donating blood,
"My experience was pleasant and seamless. The nurses were very kind. They checked on the blood donors regularly to ensure they were comfortable. The registration process was detailed, but it was necessary, to ensure the blood donors were healthy and eligible to donate blood," he said.
Reminding Himself to Donate Blood
One of the challenges Edwin faces is remembering to schedule his next blood donation appointment. He overcomes this by setting reminders on his mobile phone and calendars, to ensure he donates blood regularly.
"My mother would also remind me to go for my blood donation!" he said with a laugh.
He shared that his mother can no longer donate blood due to some health issues, but he is determined to follow in her footsteps and donate blood regularly, for as long as he can.
Edwin is motivated to donate blood because it helps others; this has driven his commitment to blood donation over the past six years.
"Patients who require surgery and patients with thalassemia or other medical conditions require blood. By simply sitting there and donating blood for a few minutes, I am already helping someone!" quipped Edwin, who is currently a student in Nanyang Polytechnic’s Food and Beverage Business course.
Achieving Blood Donation Milestones
His contributions over the past six years were recognised at this year's World Blood Donor Day Awards Ceremony, where he received the newly launched YOUTHphoria Award, for having made more than 20 blood donations before the age of 25.
"I didn't know there was such an award. I am happy that I have achieved this milestone by doing my part to save lives. I hope to make at least 100 blood donations. I want to continue helping people as much as I can. This has a positive impact on our community," he said.
Spreading the Word on Blood Donation
Only 1.8 percent of the population in Singapore donates blood. In 2022, despite a 7 percent increase in the total number of blood donors, the number of youth donors aged 16 to 25 fell by 10 per cent.
"The people of my generation are generally focused on pursuing and achieving their personal goals as quickly as possible. To encourage more youths to donate blood, we can share more stories on how blood donation has helped and saved the lives of blood recipients. I post on my social media platforms whenever I donate blood and encourage my friends to ask me about my blood donation. I would also advise them to try donating blood," said Edwin, who has successfully encouraged a friend to become a regular blood donor.
Appealing for more people to embrace blood donation as a part of their lifestyle, Edwin said, "If you are looking for an easy way to help others, donating blood is one of the things you can do. It is a painless and seamless process. You can help someone simply by sitting down and giving blood."
By Rangari Ajay Kumar, Volunteer
Keen to donate blood or organise a blood drive? Click here.