Every year on the 14th of June, World Blood Donor Day is celebrated by countries around the world to show appreciation to the blood donors who have selflessly gone out of their way to save lives in the community.
On 17th June 2023, the Singapore Red Cross Society and Health Sciences Authority held a ceremony at the Singapore Expo to celebrate this occasion, which was graced by Mr Ong Ye Kung, the Minister of Health.
Mr Ong Ye Kung shared his inspiring stories and appealed for more people to start donating blood as blood stock runs low during his guest of honour award ceremony speech on June 17th 2023 at the Singapore Expo, Hall 4. Image: Billy Wong, volunteer photographer
Mr Ong Ye Kung shared his inspiring stories and appealed for more people to start donating blood as blood stock runs low during his guest of honour award ceremony speech on June 17th 2023 at the Singapore Expo, Hall 4. PHOTO: Irnny binte Irman
During the ceremony, a total of 1,876 blood donors and 29 blood mobile organisers from all walks of life were honoured.
Among them was 63-year-old Johnathan David, a Medal of Life award recipient for his contribution of more than 200 blood donations.
“This event means a lot to me because I can see the people who are benefitting from it and the people who are giving,” said Johnathan, who delivers medical supplies as his part-time job. He is one of the long-time donors mentioned by Minister Ong in his speech.
“Older donors deserve our utmost respect, as many have contributed for many years or decades,” said Mr Ong. “They are role models for young donors; we must continue to encourage their good deeds.”
Other awards handed out that day were the Diamond Medal, given to individuals who have contributed over 100 blood donations, and YOUTHphoria, which recognises youth donors who achieve 20 donations by the age of 25.
Nurse Joseph Yeo, 25, was one of the 39 donors that received the YOUTHphoria award this year.
He said: “I hope in the future, the public will be more willing to step forward to donate blood , without the need for an appeal from the organisations and government.”
To attract more youth donors, the Singapore Red Cross has been organising roadshows and learning journeys to the blood bank, as well as creating trendy social media content and activities to provide opportunities for these youths to learn more about blood donation.
“We are hopeful that our efforts will inspire a new generation of blood donors to secure a sustainable blood supply for the future,” said Ms Tan Poh Heng, the Vice Chairperson of the Singapore Red Cross.
Apart from the award ceremony, a carnival was also held at the expo to encourage the public to learn more about blood donation in an engaging and fun manner. The estimated 4000 guests at the carnival played interactive games and enjoyed food such as popcorn and cotton candy. The participating organisations at the booths included the National Organ Transplant Unit, and the youth and academy units of the Singapore Red Cross.
Blood beneficiary and leukaemia patient Deon Lee, 27, was glad that the event allowed him and other beneficiaries to show their gratitude to the blood donors who have provided them with the needed support throughout their journey.
“This event allows people the chance to shift their mindset and understand that the blood is actually doing something good for people,” said Deon.
Another blood beneficiary, 37-year-old Kristen Juliet Soh, shared the same sentiment.
She said: “It is really amazing that this event allows us to put faces to these blood donors and inspire more people to step up and give blood.”
A wall of the list of names of the blood donors to celebrate them caught the attention of the many guests that attended the carnival on 17th June 2023 at the Singapore Expo, Hall 4. Image: Irnny binte Irman)
By Irnny binte Irman, Republic Polytechnic