Donating Blood is Inspirational and Motivational

In commemoration of World Blood Donor Day, we pay tribute to the Champion Blood Donors who have selflessly embraced regular blood donations as a part of their lifestyles.

Introducing our latest YOUTHphoria Award recipient at World Blood Donor Day 2024, Chua Jo Er! Donating with a cheerful smile, she encourages more youth to step up and donate blood together. She shares her blood donation experience and the rationale for her inspiration to continue giving.

From a young age, Chua Jo Er learnt the importance of being kind to people, even strangers, from her mother, a nurse. Intrigued about blood donation, Jo Er undertook extensive research to learn more about blood donation.

"My mum is a nurse. Doctors and nurses typically save lives. Though I am not a nurse, I have strived to help or save people's lives since I was young. I was curious about the blood donation process and the benefits to the blood recipients. After researching blood donation, I realised I could help people and save lives by donating blood," said Jo Er. 

Jo Er made her maiden blood donation at Bloodbank@HSA when she was 17, accompanied by her mother, also a blood donor. 

Undeterred, She Presses on to Donate Blood

When Jo Er was 20 years old, she tried donating blood at the Bloodbank again. However, her attempts to donate blood met with some hurdles. She was deemed ineligible twice that year due to her low iron concentration levels. 

Yet, it did not deter her from her goal of donating blood. At the Bloodbank, she stumbled upon a poster that inspired her to become a regular blood donor. 

"The poster highlighted that a unit of blood could potentially save three lives. I researched this online. Regular blood donation is vital, as several people require these blood transfusions. This motivated me to become an active and consistent blood donor, as I want to contribute as much as I help save lives," said Jo Er. 

Undaunted, she embraced dedicated measures to maintain her iron levels to qualify for blood donation. Her persistence paid off when she could successfully donate blood after shoring up her iron levels a week later. 

Since then, Jo Er has been incorporating regular blood donations into her routine after school and during her holidays. 

“I believe in giving back to society. The knowledge that my small deed can help save lives is a powerful motivator,” said Jo Er, now 25. 

Although she is of O positive blood type, Jo Er emphasised that people with negative blood types play an indispensable role as regular blood donors as their blood types are relatively rare, in comparison to the positive blood types. There is a constant daily need for all blood types in the Bloodbanks.

Her unwavering dedication to blood donation was recognised. Jo Er received the YOUTHphoria medal at World Blood Donor Day 2024, held at Marina Bay Sands on 29 June, for making more than 20 blood donations before 25.

“I feel honoured and thankful to receive the medal. The medal reminds me not just of what I did, but also of the generosity and kindness of the countless blood donors who selflessly help others through their blood donation,” said Jo Er, whose younger sister is also a blood donor.

Can People with Tattoos Donate Blood?

Some people believe that people with tattoos or body piercings would be ineligible for blood donation.

But Jo Er, who has a tattoo on her shoulder blade, begs to differ. 

She pointed out that based on the HSA guidelines on blood donation, tattoos or body piercing using sterile, single-use or disposable needles will be allowed to donate. For tattoos not using sterile, single-use or disposable needles (or if uncertain), can donate blood three months following the last tattoo or body piercing procedure.

"My tattoo was completed using a sterile, single-use, disposable needle in Singapore. The Tattoo artist threw away the needle after my tattoo," she said.

Spreading the Word about Blood Donation

Jo Er has roped in her friends to join the lifesaving cause.

“I would accompany some friends on their first blood donation, and we would donate blood together. By accompanying loved ones and friends on their first blood donation, we provide them with moral support and inspire them to donate blood more frequently. Their morale may be boosted with the knowledge that they are not alone on this journey,” she said. 

She urges more youth to embrace regular blood donation as part of their lives. She cites that the presence of several Bloodbanks and mobile blood drives at various locations enhances the accessibility for blood donors.

"Engaging more young people in blood donation is integral, as they represent the future of Singapore’s donor pool and will be the next generation of blood donors. Shoring up this future pool of regular blood donors is essential to ensuring a steady blood supply for healthcare facilities, thereby saving and sustaining the lives of more blood recipients. A bag of blood could be a drop of life for someone else,” she said.

Jo Er's story is a powerful reminder that each of us has the potential to make a difference. Blood donors play an integral role in our healthcare system. Blood donors sustain and heal our community, while offering the gift of life and hope to blood recipients. Together, we can create a ripple effect of kindness and save lives, one donation at a time.

By Cherie Aw Yuet Yin, Volunteer
Copyedited by Nitisha Venkatachari, Volunteer, and Sondra Foo, Marketing & Communications

Inspired? Donate blood.