More than 3 000 blood donors joined together at East Coast Park in Singapore to celebrate World Blood Donor Day. Singapore Red Cross and the Health Sciences Authority had organized events with a carnival atmosphere, including circus workshops, fire jugglers, carnival stalls and a spectacular firework display.

The highlight of the day was a sandcastle building project, led by youth blood donors, but with many donors and their families helping to create a huge sandcastle city. Donors were asked to build a 2 metre tall exhibit and a series of intricate sandcastles, which were linked together in the likeness of a small city. The theme chosen for celebrations this year was “Building Lives, Connecting Communities”, giving the idea of how people from all walks of life can come together to donate blood and help to save lives. The slogan, “I am a teacher/housewife/builder… and I save lives” further emphasized this message.

From April, road shows conducted at bloodmobiles and the blood bank allowed Red Cross youth volunteers to take instant photographs of blood donors while they were donating, afterwards inviting them to pen a message on the postcard. In addition, cards were distributed to donors asking them to give their names and occupations and to write a brief message about their blood donation experience. All these cards were collected and used to make up a collage, or “Wall of Life Savers”, which showed around 200 photographs of blood donors making their commitment to saving lives, graphically illustrating the message about whoever you are, or whatever you do, you can help to save lives.

Guest of honour at the event was the Minister of State for Health. Launching the evening’s firework display, he praised donors for their commitment to helping other people. He also congratulated the Centre for Transfusion Medicine of the Health Sciences Authority for achieving accreditation by the AABB, the first country in Asia to do so. This accreditation recognizes the high quality of the national blood supply, and is particularly welcome in this 60th Anniversary year of the National Blood Programme in Singapore.

Cecilia Tan
Singapore Red Cross