“Practicing Love Through Blood Donation”

On November 21 (Sunday), the New Life Welfare Foundation held the “Blood Drive to Save a Life” at the Seoul Square.
The reason that the New Life Welfare Foundation urgently held the blood drive, which was not included in its annual schedule, was because the blood supply encountered shortages because the donors, who are mainly students and civil defense corps, reduce as winter season is approaching when schools start vacation and training for reserve forces and civil defense cease.

Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah explained the motive for the blood drive, saying, “I was shocked, watching the news that the blood bank was empty. I couldn’t help but worry about the patients at risk from the lack of blood.” Chairwoman Mrs. Zahng expressed her thanks to the participants who volunteered to donate their blood to patients as if they had been their own family.

The Seoul Square was crowded with around 10,000 volunteers. The event was sponsored by Seoul Metropolitan City, Korea Red Cross, Ministry of Health & Welfare, and Save the Children Foundation (Former Korea Child Protection Foundation). Actor Lee Sun-jae who is Sponsor Chairman of the New Life Welfare Foundation and also acting as a Goodwill Ambassador for the Korea Red Cross, Lee Bong-hwa the Chief of Women’s Welfare Department of Seoul City, Yim Gwang-jin the Secretary General of Korea Red Cross, and Lee Bae-geun the President of Save the Children Foundation participated in the event.

Sponsor Chairman Lee Sun-jae addressed his message, “Giving blood is the greatest and the most direct service. The blood that is donated today is clean and healthy blood that contains your love and devotion. I believe that this blood will be the source of new energy that gives courage and hope for life to our neighbors in need.” Lee Myeong-bak, Mayor of Seoul Metropolitan City, sent his letter of encouragement, expressing his gratitude for the blood donors. He also thanked the staff of the New Life Welfare Foundation, who prepared the event.

The Korea Red Cross offered eight buses for the blood donation, and opened the Gwangwhamun Blood Bank and the Central Blood Center to support the blood donation. There were so many blood donors that they had to wait in lines in front of each buses for donating blood. The New Life Welfare Foundation members waited patiently for hours, saying, “I’ve recognized the importance of blood donation through this campaign, so I want to donate my blood to save a patient.” Secretary General of Korea Red Cross Yim Gwang-jin and the staff concerned were very surprised and said, “The amount of the blood donated today is enough for the patients who have had their surgery delayed because of the shortage of blood.” They also respected the members’ fervor and said, “When a group donates blood, their donation is usually below the expectation, but the members from the New Life Welfare are different. I never expected this many donors would come.”

While the blood donation was going on, the volunteers from the International Voluntary Service Association of University Students [Daejayon] took pictures of the donors and their family, and made them “smile buttons.” Also, they offered small things like face painting and performances to the donor applicants. Each performance was shown three times on stage. One was a short drama titled “With Our Power” which dealt with the theme that our small concern is able to change the world; and another was a short story titled “Blood Donation Is Love” which outlined the importance of donating blood in good humor; the other was vital rhythmic movement and a vocal ensemble.

Besides these, the participants watched the blood donation PR video which the New Life Welfare Foundation prepared and attended a composition contest in the theme of family love and blood donation. Around 500 pieces of composition were gathered. Around the buses for donating blood, 50 women volunteers from the New Life Welfare Foundation served the participants with hot tea and candies. There were some members who couldn’t donate their blood because too many people applied. They signed the application form of the Blood Drive Campaign, pledging to donate their blood next time and inform many people of the importance of donating blood and bring more than one person to the campaign next time. They even went around the City Hall Subway Station, Gwangwhamun, Eulgiro, and downtown Myeongdong to campaign for donating blood and drew much attention from people.

A total of 1,000 members underwent the eligibility test, and among them 655 members were able to donate 320㎖, 400㎖ from their whole blood. Those who couldn’t pass the test because of their blood pressure or anemia said, “I will take better care of my health and surely pass the test next time.” Besides, the total number of applicants for the Blood Donation Campaign was around 6,440 people which consisted of 4,644 members and 1,796 non-members.

Wrapping up the event at 4 pm, the members cleaned up the area, Seoul Square, where the drive had taken place. This event helped greatly to renew the image of donating blood. Lee Bong-hwa, Chief of Women’s Welfare Department of Seoul City, evaluated the event as “the most meaningful and fruitful event ever after Seoul Square was made.” Bystanders also complimented the donors by saying, “You are doing a great job,” “It’s well organized in order and a good atmosphere despite many people,” “I would like to participate in the campaign,” and they signed the application form and volunteered for the donation. One passer-by was moved by the purpose of the Blood Donation Campaign and donated some funds. He wanted to remain anonymous and left quickly.

The Blood Donation Campaign has just begun. As Chairwoman Mrs. Zahng said, “As long as there are patients in need, we will keep donating healthy blood to them,” all the domestic members from the New Life Welfare Foundation will practice the love of sharing blood for the lives of our neighbors continuously.