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Did you know that one pint of blood can be used to save three lives? Blood plays a vital role in ensuring whether someone lives or dies, and it is the reason why medical organisations all over the world continuously call for regular blood donations. These voluntary donations ensure that there is a continuous supply of blood which can be used to keep someone alive during critical medical situations.

However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, blood donations have decreased around the world – partly because people have had to stay at home, but also due to some reluctance and fear of contracting the coronavirus by giving blood.

At APRIL Group (Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited), employees have always been encouraged to do their part for the community by donating blood. There is even a blood donor community called the Riau Complex Blood Donor Family (KDD) comprising employees and their family members, in the Riau Complex in Pangkalan Kerinci, Riau, where they are staying.

KDD Riau Complex typically organises triannual blood donation events, which result in thousands of donated blood bags each. To date, KDD has organised over 50 Blood Donation Days, successfully collecting 6,000,000 ml of blood along the way.

Although these events have been put on hold for now in light of Covid-19 social distancing and stay-at-home practices, our determined employees have not stopped giving blood.

Some of APRIL’s regular blood donors are still doing their part by going the distance and visiting the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) Blood Transfusion Unit in Pekanbaru directly to give blood, embodying the 2020 World Blood Donor Day slogan to “give blood and make the world a healthy place”.

Here’s what some of them have to say:

Hermansyah (Mechanic, Finishing Department)

I have donated blood 62 times so far, in all my time at PT RAPP. I first had the guts to donate blood when my wife was giving birth to our first child in 1996, and she needed a lot of blood at that time. The availability of compatible blood bags at PMI’s blood bank was empty at the time, and we didn’t know how to find a blood donor on such short notice. When it was discovered that I would be a compatible blood match, I decided to donate my blood without a second thought. I realized then that it really isn’t easy to get certain blood donations, so I decided to become a regular donor and to give blood every three months since then.

For me, the most noticeable benefit of donating blood is having a better physical condition, which is also because I began to adopt a healthier lifestyle so I can continue to donate blood as long as I can. It was an unexpected surprise when I received an award from APRIL and PMI when I gave blood for the 50th time. I also help manage KDD Riau Complex as I want to do more for my community.

Abdillah Fauzan Syofiar (Safety Officer, Futong Port, Siak)

I have been donating blood since I was 17 years old. My first blood donation happened when my high school friend needed a blood transfusion, and it wasn't easy to get a blood donor. When I asked the doctor, it turned out that my blood matched the type he needed. It took a bit of time to decide, but finally I dared to donate my blood. Up until now, I have given blood 43 times, and I donate blood routinely every three months.

When I joined APRIL, I was grateful that the employees formed the KDD as a community for regular blood donors to gather. I also encourage colleagues in my work area in Futong Port, Siak Regency, to start volunteering to give blood. I try to make them understand the benefits of donating blood and of becoming permanent donors , especially those who are young.

I mostly talk about how difficult it is to get an appropriate blood donor for patients because of the diminishing supply of blood bags. I hope that millennials can make regular blood donations a lifestyle choice.

Nova Perangin Angin (Supervisor, Unigraha Hotel, Riau Complex)

I feel satisfied after donating blood, knowing that it can help others. For me, donating blood is a routine activity that I have to do every three months. I understand that one drop of blood means a lot to those in need. I’m glad for the existence of KDD Riau Complex as it helps me to donate blood on a regular basis and gain knowledge about its benefits.

To be able to continue donating blood, I have to maintain my body and stay in shape. Therefore, I am not worried about donating blood in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is precisely during these times that more people need blood donors. There is no need to be afraid to donate as all the tools used in the blood donation process are sterile. This is especially more so during this pandemic – the PMI takes care to conduct all the necessary health protocols so that no donors have to worry when donating their blood.

Lisbeth (Cost Controller, Financial Department)

Honestly, I was afraid of donating blood at first because our blood is drawn through needles. Then I received information about giving blood from several colleagues at APRIL who had joined KDD Riau Complex, so I decided to give it a shot. After my first donation, I ended up feeling rather happy to know that my blood can save someone’s life. Since then, I’ve routinely been giving blood whenever I can. I also work to maintain good health so that I can remain a donor even when I get old. It’s important to ensure that you’re in good shape because one of the pre-requirements for a blood donation is a health test to find out whether your body is able to donate blood.

Yuliadi Harianto (Buyer, Central Procurement Unit)

Besides donating my red blood cells, I am also a white blood cell donor – a person who also makes Apheresis donations. I enjoy the routine of being a blood donor because in addition to making my body heathier, I am also helping to save lives. I think it’s amazing that we don’t lose out when we take blood out to give to other people, as healthy bodies are capable of continuing to produce more blood. Sometimes, when I hear there is someone who needs blood urgently somewhere and I am a blood type match, I try to head there to donate directly to the patient in need. I try to do what I can, especially since I’m young. I think being a blood donor is one of the simplest ways to live a healthy lifestyle.

Yalimin Jacob (Exim Manager, Exim Department)

I have been donating blood for five years now. I know the difficulty of finding extra blood, and how the blood bags needed sometimes aren't even available in the blood bank, so the patient has to wait a long time to get a blood bag. Knowing all this became my biggest motivation for donating blood.

I also often invite my colleagues to participate in any blood donation activities. Normally, I donate blood at KDD’s regular Blood Donation Day, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been advised not to hold any events which involve a lot of people. So now, my colleagues and I donate blood directly at the Pelalawan PMI Blood Transfusion Unit. It is essential that blood donations go on in the middle of this pandemic because more and more people need blood transfusions and the supply of blood bags is running low.