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Red Challenge to youths: All it takes is a Healthy Body and A Caring Heart

Annual blood donation drive by the Singapore Red Cross and the Singapore Press Holdings targets Gen-y donors during June school holidays

Singapore, 7 April 2004 – Calling all Gen-Y´ers. Take up the Red Challenge this June holidays and give someone in need the gift of life.

All it takes is a healthy body and a caring heart – this year´s slogan for Red Challenge, an annual blood donation drive organised jointly by the Singapore Red Cross and media group Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), which targets youths between the ages of 16 and 25.

Into its fourth year, the campaign is part of a series of activities organised by the Singapore Red Cross to commemorate World Blood Donors Day on 14 June 2004.

The Red Challenge, which runs from 1 June till 30 June, aims to raise awareness about the need for blood donation and encourages youth organisations to actively recruit members to give blood. The youth organisation with the highest number of blood donors at the end of the month will be awarded the “Red Challenge” trophy.

June is traditionally the “drought” period for blood donation as many Singaporeans and their families go overseas for holidays and schools and tertiary institutions are closed, driving blood supplies down by as much as 30 per cent.

Through the Red Challenge, the organisers hope more youths will come forward to give blood and become lifelong donors. Although 65% of the population in Singapore are eligible to give blood, only 1 per cent are donors. Everyday, an average of 200 to 250 units of blood are required to meet the needs of patients in hospitals.

Last year, a total of 1,288 units of blood were collected from youth donors during the June holidays, an increase of 14% over 2002. The Singapore Red Cross aims to collect at least 2,500 units from donors in the 16 to 25 age group this year. This would help meet about 30 percent of the daily needs of the hospitals in June.

Associate Professor Phua Kai Hong, Vice Chairman of the Singapore Red Cross said, “Youths are our next generation of future leaders and contributors. As they become more globally oriented, it has become more apparent to them that blood is a lifesource universally and that is irreplaceable with artificial blood”, said Associate Professor Phua Kai Hong, Vice Chairman of the Singapore Red Cross.

Expressing continued support for the campaign, Mrs Sng Ngoi May, Executive Vice President of SPH´s Corporate Services and Corporate Relations said; “SPH is proud to be associated with this meaningful event which reaches out to youths.

Blood donation is a gift of life, which is priceless. Thanks to the generosity of blood donors, countless people have been able to live and enjoy an improved quality of life. We urge healthy young people to come forward to help make a positive difference to someone´s life by donating blood during the Red Challenge.”

On its part, SPH will organise an in-house blood donation drive for its employees and members of the public on Red Apple Day on 9 July 2004 at News Centre in Toa Payoh North, from 11am to 5pm. SPH encourages residents and those working in Toa Payoh estate to come forward and give blood on that day.

The results of the Red Challenge will be announced during a special ceremony on Red Apple Day at SPH News Centre.

Taking the lead in this year´s Red Challenge will be youth members from the Red Cross Humanitarian Network (RCHN), which comprises students from post-secondary and tertiary institutions. The RCHN – Nanyang Technological University Chapter for instance, will be holding a “Vibrant Blood” roadshow at Cathy Cineleisure Orchard to raise awareness on blood donation.

The roadshow, from 5 to 12 June, will feature exciting performances like kick-boxing, cheerleading and dance aerobics by youths. During the eight days, youths will fan out in Orchard Road to encourage fellow youths and public to sign up as blood donors. A blood donation drive will also be held at the Meritus Mandarin from the 10 to 12 June, 11am to 5pm daily.

Mr Tan Zhuojin, Chairman of the “Vibrant Blood” organising committee, said “During the June holidays, youths like ourselves like to hang out at Orchard Road. Through this roadshow and blood donation drive, we hope to reach out to the Gen-Y´ers and get them to understand the importance of having an adequate blood supply and to be a blood donor.”

Other RCHN chapters planning their own blood donor recruitment programme include those from ITE Bishan, National University of Singapore, Millennia Institute, Singapore Management University and Singapore Polytechnic. “The Mosque doesn´t exist in a vacuum. It´s important for us to network with the “outside” world and learn from our fellow organisations which are involved in community work. Through the participation in the Red Challenge, it is one way for us to network and build strong partnership with the
Singapore Red Cross and other participating organizations. We are looking forward to forming stronger bonds when we work together on community projects”, said Mr Muhammad Ikram Bin Mohd Ariff, the executive officer with the Darul Gulfram Mosque.

For more information on the Red Challenge, please contact:

Ms Carol Teo
Manager, Communications
Red Cross Blood Donor Recruitment Programme
Mobile: 9847 2024

Mr Francis Mah
Asst Manager, Corporate Relations
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
Tel.: 6319 1028