30 Years of Giving Blood in Shenzhen (thanks Hera!)

Now Shenzhen   |   May 15, 2023

THIRTY years ago, on May 8, 1993, the Red Cross Society of China Shenzhen Branch and the Shenzhen Blood Center went out onto the streets for the first time to promote blood donation, taking the lead in the country to do so. On that day, a man named Zhong Zhenji became the first unpaid blood donor in the city.

The first mobile blood donation vehicle in China drove onto the city’s streets in May 1995 to accept voluntary and unpaid blood donations from individuals.

As a witness to history and an important achievement of Shenzhen’s reform and opening up, the blood donation vehicle has been displayed at the Shenzhen Reform and Opening up Achievements Exhibition Hall of Shenzhen Museum.

Thirty years on, Shenzhen’s blood donation drive, with a proven track record in many firsts, still builds up steam in calling on more people to join the altruistic cause.

Many firsts and more to come

Shenzhen has created many firsts in the history of blood donation in China, according to the Shenzhen Blood Center.

In 1993, Shenzhen took the lead in the country in promoting voluntary and unpaid blood donation. By October 1998, Shenzhen’s blood donations had already completely met the needs of clinical blood use.

On Nov. 1, 1995, the first regulations on voluntary blood donation in China, the Regulations on Voluntary Blood Donation and Blood Management of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, were officially implemented.

In June 1999, the first fixed blood donation station in Shenzhen was built on Guiyuan Road in Luohu District, thus starting the process of building a blood donation network in the city.

The city’s first smart blood donation station featuring 5G technology was put into use in Longhua District on June 8, 2020.

There is also a large team of volunteers in Shenzhen who not only regularly donate blood themselves, but also pitch in the promotion and service of blood donation.

Shenzhen is also one of the cities that boast the largest number of hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) donations in China. The city has vigorously promoted HSC donations since 1999, the blood center said.

In August 2000, the center launched the Shenzhen Bone Marrow Gene Information Bank to recruit voluntary HSC donors.

A year later, Shenzhen registered its first HSC donor, who became the country’s first volunteer donor since the establishment of the China Marrow Donor Program.

On April 3 this year, a young man became Shenzhen’s 600th and the country’s 14,956th individual to donate HSCs to an unrelated recipient. So far, Shenzhen has had the most people who have donated HSCs in the country.

“Over the past 30 years, the city’s blood donation drive has gained support from all sectors of society. We hope to convey the concept of ‘voluntary, unpaid and altruistic’ blood donations to more people,” said Ning Li, director of the blood center.

According to statistics, as of May 8 this year, Shenzhen had recorded 5.34 million blood donations by voluntary and unpaid blood donors, who donated a total of 1,068 metric tons of blood.

Expats lend a hand

Expats have also been actively involved in donating blood in Shenzhen, becoming a force to be reckoned with in the city’s blood donation drive.

Heráclito Everson Biscaia Filho from Brazil is a familiar face to the staff of the Shenzhen Blood Center. The Brazilian made his 53rd blood donation at the Nanshan Blood Donation Station in Nanshan District on May 8, the World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day.

“I wasn’t aware about the importance of the date, because I think every single day is important and their [staff’s] job makes a difference to so many people,” the Brazilian, who prefers to be called Hera, told Shenzhen Daily.

Hera, who has the rare AB RH negative blood type, is a frequent blood donor and has been donating blood about once a month in Shenzhen since 2013.

“It can make a difference to someone,” the Brazilian said. “I also like to go there because the staff are not only nurses but also my friends.”

On Nov. 13, 2022, a group of 45 expats got together to donate blood at the Huaqiangbei blood center in Futian District, in hopes of giving back to society and saving more lives.

The group donation was initiated by three Indian families, who had organized four such events in 2021 and 2022.

“We wanted everybody to join irrespective of which community they belong to, or which country they come from. It’s all about how to give back selflessly,” said Pooja Verma, one of the organizers.

ARTICLE FROM: Shenzhen Daily