The Power to Save Lives is in Your Veins

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. 

For over 17 years, Tabitha Elankovan, 44, has been a beacon of hope and life for countless individuals through her regular blood donations. Her journey as a blood donor is not only a testament to her compassion, but also an inspiring tale of how one person's dedication can significantly impact the community. She was a Bronze recipient at the World Blood Donor Day 2024.

Early Inspiration and Commitment

Her inspiration to become a blood donor was rooted in her extracurricular activity during her academic years where she had learnt about the importance of blood donation in her teens. 

Tabitha empathises with the struggles that patients and accident casualties face as they grapple to receive blood to sustain and save their lives. That realisation profoundly impacted her.

"Blood is required by people who meet with accidents and patients. It made me realise that if I can donate blood, why not? This thought has stayed with me ever since," said Tabitha.

This early exposure to the importance of blood donation cultivated a deep-seated commitment in Tabitha, a former Red Cross Youth Link in primary school. It was this commitment that spurred her to make her first blood donation in 2007, and she has not looked back since.

Overcoming Challenges

While Tabitha's dedication is commendable, she has to surmount some hurdles along the way.

One of the challenges Tabitha faces is discipline as she juggles her professional and personal life. Discipline and tenacity are indispensable to donating blood regularly. By interweaving her commitment with discipline and meticulous planning, Tabitha has navigated these challenges. 

"I usually plan my donations around my schedule. Even if I miss the exact date, I ensure that I donate within the same week," Tabitha said. Her determination ensures that she never misses an opportunity to contribute.

Another challenge she faces is meeting the iron concentration criteria to be eligible for blood donation. There were occasions when her iron levels were low and she was deemed ineligible for blood donation. 

Notwithstanding this setback, she remains unwavering in her commitment. 

To ensure she meets the iron concentration levels in her blood to be eligible for blood donation, she exercises mindfulness in her diet to ensure good health. 

"I think of the lives I could be saving, and it makes any inconvenience worth it," she shared.

Regular Donations and Motivation

Tabitha has made it a habit to donate blood quarterly. Her regularity is driven by a simple yet profound motivation: saving lives. 

"The thought that my blood could save someone's life keeps me going," she said. 

Her discipline and persistence have paid off. 

Tabitha received the Bronze medal at World Blood Donor Day 2024, held at Marina Bay Sands on 29 June, for her contributions. 

"Receiving the invite itself made me feel so proud," she said with a smile. 

Yet Tabitha is not resting on her laurels. She is not content with just the Bronze medal. Instead, she has set her sights on the Gold Medal, reflecting her continuous drive to contribute more.

Encouraging Others to Give the Gift of Life

Tabitha's influence extends beyond her contributions. She has successfully encouraged her family members to become regular blood donors. Her sister, inspired by Tabitha's example, also became a regular donor before her commitments took over. More recently, Tabitha's husband has joined her in donating blood quarterly. 

"He started to follow me after seeing that I donate blood regularly. Now, it's something we do together," Tabitha said with pride.  

Besides the positive influence she has created on her immediate circle, Tabitha is cognisant of the broader challenges in encouraging more people to donate blood. The hectic lifestyles in Singapore may pose a challenge for many to step forward to donate blood.  

Addressing Myths and Misconceptions

Tabitha also hopes to dispel some common misconceptions about blood donation. Many people believe that donating blood is a painful and time-consuming process. She notes that a significant barrier is the fear of needles and the perception of pain.

"It's not as painful as people think, and it doesn't take much time at all," she assured. 

A Call to Action

Despite the challenges, Tabitha remains optimistic and determined. She believes that with heightened awareness and enhanced accessibility, more people will step forward to donate blood. 

Her message to potential blood donors is simple yet powerful. 

"If you can donate, why not do it? Your blood can save lives. The power to save lives is in your veins. Share it through blood donation," Tabitha said.

As she continues her journey, Tabitha Elankovan exemplifies how one person's unwavering dedication, discipline and compassionate spirit can profoundly impact on the lives of those who rely on blood donations. Her story is a beacon of light, demonstrating the power of individual action to create positive change and inspire others to join her in this life-saving mission. Tabitha and other blood donors create a legacy of hope, healing, and compassion in our community, one drop at a time. 

By Naman Gupta, Volunteer
Copyedited by Sondra Foo, Marketing & Communications

Inspired? Donate blood.