Thursday , 18 April 2024

One drop of blood, countless lifelines

SM Group employees work alongside a Philippine Red Cross volunteer to prepare donated blood for storage in the blood bank. Their efforts help alleviate the current blood shortage, one vital blood bag at a time.

Many of us encounter news of blood donation drives organized by companies and institutions alongside the Philippine Red Cross or the Department of Health’s Blood Bank. But the question lingers: Why are these drives essential, and where does the donated blood ultimately go?

The answer lies in a critical medical infrastructure – blood banks. 

These facilities act as a lifeline, meticulously processing, testing, and separating the donated blood into components tailored to specific patient needs. Amidst the blood supply shortage in the country, this preparation ensures a constant supply ready to meet the demands of emergencies and complex medical procedures. 

In championing the nation’s well-being, SM Foundation (SMFI) plays a significant role. Collaborating with various partners, they organize blood donation drives across SM malls and offices. Every single blood bag drawn from SM customers and employee donors holds the potential to be a lifesaver, or even save multiple lives.

Once a beneficiary, now a donor

A regular donor in SM Foundation’s blood donation drive is the family of Eleanor Bolaños of Pasay City, who once benefited from a blood donation provided by the Foundation.

On Good Friday 2023, Eleanor was scalded with boiling water while cooking at home. Rushed to the Philippine General Hospital, she received treatment for first-degree burns. However, the hospital informed her family that she would require a blood transfusion. Since it was Good Friday, they turned to their neighbor for help, who promptly contacted SMFI despite it being a holiday.

With the help of the blood transfused to her, she is back to work. The scars from her ordeal serve as a constant reminder for her to actively support blood donation drives whenever possible.

At a recent SM Group blood donation drive held in MAAX, MOA Complex, Pasay City, an employee contributes by donating blood.

Blood transfusion’s life-saving impact

Blood transfusion proved to be a lifesaving measure in the battle against COVID-19 for Ma. Cecilia ‘Gin’ Navarro. Her encounter with the deadly Delta strain of the virus inspired her to be a staunch advocate of blood donation. 

Struggling to breathe and facing hospital bed shortages, her family found a lifeline at Marikina Medical Center. But a new hurdle emerged–a critical need for rare B+ blood plasma, which had been depleted due to the pandemic.

In a bid to fight for their loved one, Gin’s husband reached out to SM Foundation. The foundation assisted in locating and delivering the necessary blood type. In no time, Gin received the life-saving transfusion.

Now deeply grateful for her second chance, Gin actively encourages her colleagues to participate in blood drives near their office at the Mall of Asia, ensuring others have the chance to fight for their own second chance.

Sharing the stories of Eleanor and Gin are retired journalist Catalino Makabenta and SM Mart employee Analyn Miguel.

Catalino urgently needed blood for his upcoming colon cancer surgery. He received blood bags, which were crucial for his successful operation. Meanwhile, Analyn’s mother-in-law, battling liver cirrhosis from an autoimmune disease, urgently needed a blood transfusion. Her tireless hunt for blood ended when she learned about the SM Foundation’s assistance.

Analyn remains grateful for the help extended by SM through the blood donation. “Malaking tulong po itong programang ito ng SM Foundation para madugtungan po ang buhay ng mga nangangailangan,” she said.

To learn more about SM Group’s blood donation drives, visit

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