Alagang Kapatid Foundation and Department of Health-Philippine Blood Center, in line with its campaign to promote and encourage voluntary blood donation, celebrated the World Blood Donor Day three days earlier last June 11, 2015. This year’s theme of “Blood Connects Us All” has been realized by being able to successfully generate a total of 465 blood bags, beating last year’s record of 361 bags from volunteer heroes who generously shared a part of themselves.
Uniformed men from the Philippine National Police, Philippine Army, Philippine Marines and Philippine Air Force started arriving in Fisher Mall Quezon Avenue at exactly 7am to register. Early registrants were immediately ushered by nurses from Cardinal Santos Medical Center to get their vital signs. Doctors from Philippine Blood Center physically examined and interviewed the donors prior to haemoglobin test after which they were led to the bleeding area.
A little past mall opening hours, walk-in blood donors started flooding in. Brent Orpilla, a teacher from Taguig and a regular donor since 2007, agreed to sit for 3 hours to be the first mobile Haemonetics-Apheresis donor in the Philippines. The apparatus that separates blood components such as plasma, platelets, white blood and red blood cells can now be brought outside the compounds of PBC and other health institutions. This machine is used to draw out from one donor only the blood component that is needed by the patient. Blood components that are not needed are segregated by this machine and are returned to the blood donor. This allows for faster time for the donor to recuperate and donate blood again after a week or two.
Meantime, ASCOM Band of the Philippine Army set the mood with upbeat songs. At 10:26 am the bleeding team already had 73 successful blood donors. Program host, Laila Chikadora started calling in people to formally start the occasion. After the National Hymn and opening prayer by one of the children of Balikatang Thalassemia, people from different agencies started thanking the donors, talked about their personal experiences on how the availability of blood was able to save lives of loved ones and close acquaintances. Host Laila Chikadora also shared how her own brother’s life was prolonged by 14 hours more due to blood donation which was facilitated by Paul Santos, recruitment officer of Philippine Blood Center.
The afternoon program was hosted by Empoy of Happy Hour show of TV5 and Ms. Menchie Silvestre, Executive Director for Alagang Kapatid Foundation. Artists from all ages came to provide entertainment. Chili Papas sang hits from the 70’s and the 80’s. Bea Silvestre jammed with Chili Papas and rendered two songs, one of which was an on-the-spot duet with a “balladeer” from the Philippine Army which excited the crowd, particularly those from the Philippine Army. Pow Chavez, of Philippine Idol Season 1 of then ABC5, Malak So and Jana Garcia provided more entertainment for the blood donors while waiting.
The highlight of the afternoon’s program was the presence of Derek Ramsay, one of TV5’ s hottest celebrities, who was gracious enough to walk around the activity center to greet and thank those who were currently donating blood. He thanked the donors bed after bed and congratulated them for being heroes. He himself wished to donate blood but was unfit for having only three hours of sleep the previous night due to shoot of his upcoming movies.
The bands of Long Time No See, Nickie Mossman, Neighbors Band, Tantum Ergo and Jeepney Joy Ride also joined in providing free music until the registration closed at 6:00pm.
(“Blood Connects Us All”, was done in partnership with Department of Health, Philippine Blood Center, JCI-San Juan Dambana, Soka Gakkai International of the Philippines, Donate Philippines, Solaire resorts and Casino at San Miguel Food Corporation and Cardinal Santos Medical Centre.)