Volunteers step up to donate blood on Lantern Festival
Many Chinese and expats living in Shanghai celebrated the Lantern Festival in a special way today – by rolling up their sleeves and donating blood.
On the day, City News Service hosted a blood donation event, in collaboration with Shanghai Blood Center and Bloodline, an NGO, to meet the shortage of supply due to the Spring Festival break and the cold weather.
Flowers, rabbit lanterns and pastry sets were given as gifts to each blood donor. Some volunteers were dressed surprisingly as Star Wars warriors.
Residents from Pudong's Biyun, Gubei communities and students from Shanghai, Tongji and Fudan universities actively participated.
Inliang Budsayamat, from Thailand, said she's been in China for 11 years, and it is now her second home.
"I am happy to help others by donating blood," she said. "Although it's my first time and I am a little nervous, the whole process is very smooth."
Chan Pei Lin, a student from Malaysia, was also a first-time donor. She only arrived in Shanghai in September last year.
"After getting the information from City News Service, I decided to come," she said. "I was nervous because I was not familiar with the process, but it was not so difficult as I had thought."
Frequent blood donors also took part.
Hu Dongchan is a regular donor of full blood and platelet. She has also registered to become a stem cell donor.
"I left my phone number in hopes of becoming a regular donor during my first blood donation," she said. "I received a call from the blood center days ago, saying there is a shortage of blood type AB. So I came here today to give donation."
Tiziana Richiardi, from Italy, said it was her third time donating blood in Shanghai.
"It is an amazing initiative (by City News Service) to help support the community," she said. "I think donating blood is giving a part of yourself to someone else who needs it."
The event also received much support from Bloodline and Marriott International.
Jurrien Bongers, general manager of Sheraton Shanghai Grand Pudong Hotel & Residences, and his colleagues delivered pastry sets to the site. The sets are offered by six Marriott International hotels in Shanghai.
Bongers said the initiative, an action of giving back to the community, is guided by the company's sustainability and social impact platform, Serve 360, which is "doing good in every direction to continue help others and serving the communities in which we live and work."
He added that Marriott will participate and organize more such events in the future to serve the community.
Ashish Maskay, a surgeon from Nepal and founder of Bloodline, said all the donors are "angels."
"I strongly recommend if you have that humanity view and if you love Shanghai, come by and help the city, help the community and be that happy rabbit for a family that really needs blood," he said.