Project Team Members: Richard Yang, Eric Liu, George Wang, Lillian Huang, Evelyn Li, Claire Ong, Eric Han, and Katherine Chang
Instagram: @bloodworkspath Email:
COVID-19 has caused a significant decline in blood supply, while simultaneously increasing the number of patients in need of blood. Even with the increasing necessity of blood donations, blood is coming in slower than ever before. Alongside COVID-19, the current availability of Asian blood, in particular, is extremely low due to the lack of Asian involvement in blood donation.
We are a group of Asian American high school students from the Puget Sound Area. Under the guidance of former mayor and current city councilman Conrad Lee, we’ve created this project with the sole purpose of increasing blood donorship.
To achieve this, we work alongside other organizations such as BloodworksNW and are always actively spreading our message. We believe that all people deserve the ability to lead a fulfilling life, regardless of blood condition.
Our mission is to educate the community, especially the Asian community, about the process and benefits of donating blood, and ultimately recruit more blood donors through partnership with Bloodworks NW. Each blood donation can save a life, but a huge portion of the public doesn’t grasp how much their donations matter. Our team is pursuing the route to change that.
Blood is donated to achieve a paramount goal: save lives. Blood donations give you the power to save someone else’s lives because just one pint of blood can help save 3 lives. More than 75% of all Americans reaching age 72 will have to have a blood transfusion, so it’s crucial that blood donations are available for those people. Additionally, blood needs diversity in order to save as many lives as possible. 60% of Asians cannot find a matching donor because their body cannot accept anything other than blood from Asian donors, and Asians are a very small percentage of blood donors.
Though the issue of blood donation has largely been conquered in the U.S., it still remains true that especially among minorities, finding suitable blood can be a challenge at times. The tragic death of Kirby Wong, who is believed to have built up antigens to Caucasian blood after receiving more than five hundred blood transfusions within the span of two and half weeks, is an alarming wake up call to minorities, that in the case of emergencies, suitable blood may not be available. While blood transfusions, in general, work across genetic and ethnic lines, it is almost always safer for those in need to receive blood from someone ethnically similar to them. Ourselves being Asian American, we felt the responsibility to help our own ethnic community by starting the project with the mindset of saving more lives.
Our project has accomplished many things within a short time frame. To initiate our project, we created and presented a presentation outlining our goals for our partnership with BloodworksNW to members of the Pathway Foundation. We have also partnered and distributed information regarding blood donation in the form of infographics to numerous organizations, including NWCS, FYCD, Sea Moms Club, and the Seattle Chinese News. In addition, through social media platforms like Instagram and WeChat, our project has been able to reach over 10,000 people, helping to further extend our reach to members of our community.
Our project has big plans for the future. First off, we will resume our internship tours of BloodworksNW to further everyone’s understanding of the donation process. From that we hope to launch our #PathOfBlood collage message as our main marketing material. We will be using it to personally attract donors to our pop-up blood drives we plan to hold among organizations, such as Northwest Chinese School and Microsoft. With the partnerships we have gained thus far, we hope to hold conferences to educate and engage more people on blood donations. Additionally we will partner along with Civics Club to educate highschoolers about blood donations.