Blood transfusion is something most of us are lucky enough not to have to think about, most of the time. But for others, particularly those with rare blood types, it’s a matter of life and death.
And in Beijing, the issue is even more important. Donation levels in China are low, and city hospitals face particular pressures as many travel from the countryside in search of medical treatment. In February, the government stopped a long-running scheme which gave donors priority for transfusions, a priority which they could transfer to friends and family. If the day ever comes when you need blood, can you be sure you could get it?
Fortunately, some in the international community have responded to this issue. Bloodline describes itself as “a non-profit organization of like-minded individuals, dedicated to providing blood during an emergency.” We asked founder Racelle Luo how the organization came about.
“When I was pregnant with my daughter three years ago,” she told us, “I created a ‘rare blood types of Shanghai’ group because I realized the need for blood here. Over a year later, I met Dr. Maskay when he was looking for blood for a patient, a young woman with rhesus negative blood. I had over 100 people with negative blood in my group and many stepped up to donate. After Dr. Maskay and I met, we decided to put our efforts together and created Bloodline.”
Bloodline is Shanghai-based, but there is a Beijing WeChat group too, Bloodline BJ.
“We have Bloodline China which covers all the areas we don’t have groups for. And we have groups for Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Hainan, and Xiamen as far as I remember off the top of my head!”
Some may be deterred from giving blood in China by memories of past scandals, but Luo told us she is confident that those problems are firmly in the past.
“In my 12 years in China,” she said, “in both Beijing and Shanghai, I have never had an issue or seen anyone else have an issue from blood donation.”
If you want to help, you can donate blood in Beijing at the Red Cross Blood Center, on the North Third Ring Road, near Anhuaqiao subway station on line 8. As Luo told us, you might well be saving someone’s life.
“As Bloodline,” she told us, “and before Bloodline was created, we have many, many cases of the community coming together and donating on behalf of someone they do not know in order to help save lives. It’s amazing what we can do as a community!”
Red Cross Blood Center
37 N 3rd Ring Rd Middle, Haidian Qu. 北京市红十字血液中心北三环中路37号.