To celebrate a special season, milestone, or event, the best gifts are always those of the truly personal kind, those that come from the heart. And what's more personal than donating your blood to those who need it?
At the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), only volunteers are allowed to donate blood, increasing the chance of safe blood for the public. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), voluntary donors have lesser risk for tranfusion-transmitted infections, such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis, and malaria.
Voluntary donors also have higher chances to be a regular donor, and are most likely to stay committed to a healthy lifestyle.
Non-Remunerated Blood Donors
Another safeguard used by the PRC is non-remuneration, that is, voluntary donors are not paid. The elimination of remuneration increases the chance that only those who truly want to help people in need of blood transfusion would donate.
In a 2010 paper entitled “Towards 100% Voluntary Blood Donation: A Global Framework for Action,” the WHO, together with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, advocated for “100% voluntary non-remunerated blood donation in every country of the world... based on the recognition that voluntary non-remunerated blood donors are the foundation of a safe, sustainable blood supply.”
When Ayisha Fabian, together with her relatives Robert Reyes, Pida Reyes, and Salve Salvacion, went to the PRC Bulacan Chapter to donate blood, they knew they wouldn't get any monetary reward in return. For them, what mattered was the opportunity to help others by paying it forward. “A blood donor saved our uncle's life. Kaya gusto namin na kami naman ang magbigay sa mga nangangailangan ng dugo,” says Ayisha. “It was our simple way to pay it forward, to hopefully help even more people like our uncle.”
Ayisha's uncle, who was undergoing dialysis, needed Type B blood when his hemoglobin dropped to dangerously low levels. Thanks to the voluntary non-remunerated donors of the PRC, her uncle is now in recovery.
Besides accepting only voluntary non-remunerated donors, the PRC requires all volunteers to undergo the blood screening and testing standards set by the Department of Health.
Arianne Nillo, a regular blood donor since 2011, says that “before anyone can make a donation, pinapadaan muna ng mga medical officers ng Red Cross sa tamang process. Nagkakaroon muna ng briefing and screening, and they inform us of the benefits and importance of blood donation.”
Arianne is living proof that donating blood saves lives. In 2009, she was diagnosed with dengue fever. In need of a blood transfusion, she went to the PRC. Moved by the compassion and selflessness of the people who helped save her life, Arianne signed up to be a blood donor to the PRC.
A few years later, Arianne urged her boyfriend, Carlo Goli, to donate blood as well. The couple, who have been together for almost two years, donate blood to the PRC regularly together. They even see it as a special kind of dating experience and a unique way of strengthening their relationship. “Mas nagiging strong 'yung bond namin habang nagiging strong din 'yung urge namin to help others,” says Arianne. “Also, kapag nag-do-donate kami ng dugo, we go through a screening process, at nasisiguro namin that we're both healthy.”
Edward Chua, 35, a regular donor since 2009 and one of the Apheresis Blood Donor awardees of the PRC, says that the PRC is always diligent in providing all the information he needs to know in terms of blood donation. For him, this is a very important step because the lack of knowledge about the process and benefits of blood donation discourages some people to get involved.
So what made Edward commit to this advocacy? In 2008, his wife was diagnosed with dengue fever. Her platelets dropped to below 10 and, to live, she needed seven to eight units of platelets. Her blood type being the rare AB, Edward couldn't find suitable blood donors in a short amount time.
One of his friends advised him to go to the PRC, which renders apheresis services. Apheresis is a special type of blood donation through which a specific part of the blood is collected from the donor. At the PRC, Edward found a donor that complied with the blood requirement to save his wife's life.
One year later, Edward and five of his friends heard about the Philippine Red Cross bloodletting drive in partnership with the Bombo Radyo Philippines. Without hesitation, they joined the bloodletting activity. For Edward, it was the perfect opportunity for him to “pay back” the PRC for helping save his wife.
To this day, Edward, a gym owner, and his friends continue to donate blood to the PRC every after three months. “Aside from hanging out in the gym, naging bonding na rin namin ito ng mga friends ko. And donating blood is a two-way process. Beneficial para sa tatanggap ng dugo at siyempre para din sa nag-donate. Masarap ang feeling after mo mag-donate. Beneficial din siya physically. Nalilinis 'yung dugo namin at malaki ang chance na makaiwas sa sakit sa puso,” says Edward.
As you celebrate this season of love—or any season really—the Philippine Red Cross invites you to share the love a little differently. With your partner, family, and friends, visit one of the PRC's Blood Service Facilities and volunteer to donate blood together. Imagine the lives that could be touched by your gift!
For more inquiries, you may visit our website at www.redcross.org.ph or call our Blood Service hotline at (02) 790-2330.