A drop of blood forms an ocean of love
Blood is an irreplaceable, rare medical resource. As it cannot be produced, the only way to obtain is through blood donation. Blood transfusion can save lives, however, millions of those patients around the world who need transfusion do not have timely access to safe blood.
WHO estimates that blood donation by one percent of the population is the minimum threshold for a nation to self-sustain its most basic need for blood. Today, still 73 countries cannot meet this minimum requirement. In practice, regular, voluntary and unpaid blood donors are the safest among all categories of donors as the prevalence of blood borne infections in this group is the lowest.
Take the example of China. In 2011, only 0.92 percent of the Chinese population donated blood voluntarily. Although the number still falls short of the WHO criteria, the proportion has been increasing year by year. Among all the donors, GUO Mingyi, a 53-year-old steel worker from the province of Liaoning, stands out for his impressive contribution to this development. Inspired by him, a large number of people have joined the group of blood donors.
In 1990, Guo donated blood for the first time in his life. It was on this occasion, he was informed that blood donation could save lives and blood banks in China are often short of blood supplies.
Since then, he participated in voluntary blood donation every year and it continued throughout the last 21 years. In these years, he has donated more than 60,000 milliliters of blood - equal to the amount of blood coursing through the veins of 10 adults.
As time goes by, Guo has learned more and more about blood and blood donation. For example, the blood can be separated into its components — red cells, platelets and plasma — which can be used individually for patients under specific circumstances. Based on such an understanding, he started to donate platelets regularly from 2005 as well.
At the beginning, many people could not understand his behavior and some even called him a "fool". However, none of these can prevent him from engaging in blood donation. Not even for a second. Gradually, he found out that the regular donation by himself is not enough. One individual’s effort cannot change the shortage of blood supply and broader participation is a must. Therefore, he started to advocate the benefits and knowledge of blood donation in his spare time, trying to round up more people to join him.
Thanks to his persistence and dedication, more and more people are joining him. Guo Mingyi Love Team, which was established in 2006, has more than 46,000 volunteers from about 10 provinces now. Since 2007, he has organized unpaid blood donation campaigns for seven times and more than 150,000 units of blood donations were collected.
On 14 June 2011, Guo launched an unpaid voluntarily blood donation initiative through his Weibo (blog in China) account. More than 100 volunteer teams in different cities responded to his call. At the same time, many of his Weibo followers also went to local centers to donate blood.
"In fact, when the public understand the importance to society of voluntary blood donation and it causes no harm to the donors, they will participate actively", he said, "and I believe that many more will join us, if the process is better organized".
Over the years, Guo has become the most trusted ambassador for voluntary blood donation in China. In 2008, he was awarded by the Ministry of Health for his extraordinary contribution in blood donation.
14 June is designated as the World Blood Donor Day by WHO, highlighting the need to regularly give blood to prevent shortages in hospitals and clinics. The stories of Guo Mingyi faithfully promote the essence of World Blood Donor Day – to pay tribute to those people who save lives by donating blood and motivate more people to become blood donors.