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Expats support blood drive at Shanghai Children's Hospital

China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-27 09:03
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An expat donates blood at the community blood drive organized by Bloodline in Shanghai on Saturday. [Photo by Gu Yingjie/China Daily]

#KeepDreamsAlive, a community blood drive at Shanghai Children's Hospital, attracted significant support from the city's expatriate community on Saturday.

The event, spearheaded by Bloodline, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Shanghai that focuses on blood donations for children battling blood cancer and disorders, attracted hundreds of blood donors — most of them expatriates.

Ashish Maskay, the group's founder and director of Shanghai expatriate healthcare at Shanghai United Family Hospital, said the catalyst for its establishment seven years ago was his experience in assisting a patient with the rare Rh-negative blood type, often referred to as "panda blood" in China due to its scarcity.

Only around three out of 1,000 Chinese people have Rh-negative blood — compared with about 150 per 1,000 in the United States — leading to a persistent shortage of the blood type for patients in need.

At Saturday's event, Xavier Noebes, a core member of Bloodline and a dedicated blood donor, emphasized the dual benefits of blood donation — fulfilling a societal responsibility and enhancing one's own immune system.

"I know the importance of blood in life, and anyone can need it today, tomorrow … for any kind of operation like a mother giving birth, someone having an accident, someone getting operated on for anything," he said. "So I believe it's important and a responsibility of everyone to contribute a little bit of time and blood."

Noebes commended Shanghai for its support of Bloodline and its collaboration with the Shanghai Blood Center in organizing impactful events.

Gaia Farinelli, another core member of Bloodline, said she hoped for increased donor engagement, which would help promote the importance of blood donation.

"You can save a life with a simple, simple gesture," she said. "I hope we can do this many times, and every time have more donors."

During the event's opening ceremony, Maskay announced the establishment of a new branch, Bloodline-Y, comprising young volunteers.

A founding member of Bloodline-Y, Hei Suen-fung, a 15-year-old from Shanghai American School Puxi, initiated a poster project that compiled encouraging messages from her classmates with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of blood donations.

Gu Yingjie contributed to this story.

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