For Jethro (not his real name), donating blood is a commitment and investment that he was able to see come forth through the Sirib Blood Bank, and initiative of the Ilocos Norte Youth Development Office (INYDO) in partnership with the Sirib Ilokano Kabataan Association (SIKA).
The most recent blood donation activity sponsored by the INYDO and SIKA was last April 26, in celebration of the association’s fourth anniversary.
Jethro shared, “We don’t know what might happen in the coming years. Malay mo, kamag-anak o mahal mo sa buhay pala ang mangangailangan… Para siyang investment kasi baka kakailanganin mo in the future.” He added that participating in bloodletting has helped him overcome his fear of blood. He never expected that he would be of help in acquiring blood for his classmate when she was in an accident last December 2017.
“It was early in the morning and I was informed through our [Facebook Messenger] group chat that one of our classmates needed blood, so the first thing that came to my mind was the Sirib blood bank. I consulted my fellow SIKA chairpersons, and they instructed me to take my request to Mr. Julius Calivoso, a staff of INYDO,” he shared. His request was then immediately approved, and he was given four bags of blood by the Philippine Red Cross.
The accident happened on the road from barangays Bacsil South to Lataag, Laoag City.
Melanie (not her real name), who was part of the group, narrated that there were eight of them riding on a “kurong-kurong” or motorcycle with a sidecar.
“A speeding motorcycle suddenly passed by from behind – we were going at a very slow and careful pace because there were so many of us,” she said. “Then a second motorcycle came, and then all I can remember is my friends shouting, some crying. They said there was blood all over my face. I remember thinking, “I don’t want to die yet,” said Melanie. Jethro was not around during the accident. While most of the group came out of the incident with no major injuries, their friend Odessa (not her real name) has had to undergo three surgeries on her leg since then and needs two more. It was also she who had needed the blood that Rivera was able to acquire from the Sirib Blood Bank.
According to Randolph (not his real name), a close friend of Odette, she is now resting at home while waiting for enough funds to undergo her last two operations. “Doctors have reassured their family that they would do her best for her to still be able to walk,” he said. He lamented the delay that this was having on her education and career, as all of them should be part of the 2018 graduating batch of the Mariano Marcos State University. They have taken the incident as a lesson in personal and road safety, and particularly warn the public against going out late at night and drunk driving.
“Siguro, dapat iwasang magpagala-gala sa gabi,” said Jethro, “kasi sabi nga nila, ‘Uray kasano ti panagan-annad mo, no sika ti disgrasia’enda.’” (Kahit gaano ka pa mag-ingat, kung ikaw naman ang madidisgrasya ng iba.) He also added, “Do not drive if you are drunk, at kung wala kang lisensya. Delikado ang reckless driving. Kung ikaw na nakainom ay malakas ang loob na magpabilis, kumusta naman yung mga madidisgrasya dahil sa’yo? Anong nangyari kay Odessa?” #