The need for blood transfusion did not stop even during the lockdown mandated by the government. Blood supplies were running low in blood banks and requests for blood were in demand for patients’ emergency needs.
While the COVID-19 pandemic put on hold some scheduled blood-letting activities of SM Foundation, the social good arm of the SM Group still managed to collect 1,115 bags of blood as of Oct. 12 which will benefit 3,345 patients— one bag benefitting three patients when processed.
Usually executed in SMDC Residences and in SM Mall branches, the social responsibility program is executed in close collaboration with the Department of Health-Philippine Blood Center (DOH-PBC) and the Philippine Red Cross.
The social good arm of the SM group untiringly reminds its employees and stakeholders that each blood donation drive stretches beyond blood donation. That by donating blood, they become an extension, not only just for themselves but for others.
Since the inception of the program in 2011, stakeholders especially those in grassroot communities have benefitted from the SM Group’s Virtual Blood Bank.
SM is the first organization to establish a Virtual Blood Bank. What made it more special is that most of the blood are donated by SM Employees.
The establishment of the blood bank was provided for in a memorandum of agreement between SM Foundation and the Philippine Blood Center to lessen dependence on paid blood donations from commercial blood banks. With it, exposure of recipients to diseases transmitted through blood transfusion like HIV-AIDS and hepatitis, among others, is prevented.
Employees from SM Group of Companies participate in scheduled mass blood donations spearheaded by SM Foundation Health and Medical Programs in collaboration with the SM medical services.
The banked blood has helped numerous SM employees and their families. It has also benefitted patients in government hospitals where wards are adopted by SM Foundation and hospitals that host Felicidad Sy Wellness Centers.
One blood bank recipient is Marissa Araiz—a patient at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center who needed blood transfusion for her ovarian operation. With the operation scheduled at 7 a.m the following day, her daughter, Reece Ann Araiz spent the night looking for blood donors. She recounted with gratitude that SM Foundation generously responded even in the call for help came in the middle of the night through the Health & Wellness Program of SMFI. By 2 a.m. she was able to secure the needed blood for her mother.
SM Foundation, through its Health and Wellness Program, upgrades public health centers in its host communities, complemented by its medical caravans across the country. To date, it has renovated more than 160 health and wellness centers and served more than one million patients during its medical missions.