It Takes a Community: Rh Negative Blood in China
Last week, precious baby Pearl was found at just four days old with a hospital note explaining she had a meningocele, a large “spinal tumor” which is actually a protrusion of the membranes which cover the spine. Although we do not know for sure, there is a chance that Pearl’s birthparents were unable to afford the surgery and treatment that she would need. We made arrangements with her orphanage to move her immediately to a hospital in Shanghai.
However, our plans to help Pearl get surgery hit a snag when the hospital discovered that Pearl’s blood type was Rh negative. In China, negative blood is very rare, as less than 1% of the Asian population has this type. Unfortunately for Pearl, the city’s blood bank was out of Rh negative blood, and so the doctors would be unable to perform her surgery.
In all of our years working with children needing medical care in China, we had never run into this problem, but the more we researched the more we learned of the great need for this type of blood to be donated in China.
As people heard that Pearl was unable to have surgery, an amazing thing began to happen. Volunteers and friends from all over the globe began contacting people they knew in China to see if anyone had negative blood they could possibly donate to this baby girl. In less than 24 hours, over 30 people volunteered to donate their blood to help Pearl get the surgery she needed.
Isn’t that incredible?
And while there are regulations in place in China which prevent someone from donating directly to an individual (since there are of course waiting lists of people needing this type of blood), enough donors came through in Shanghai that all the people ahead of Pearl received the blood they needed, and then it was Pearl’s turn! This beautiful little girl had her surgery on Wednesday, and so far everything has gone very smoothly for her.
We are truly humbled that so many people mobilized and took action in such a short period of time to help not only Pearl but the other people who had been waiting for negative blood. We would like to take this opportunity to encourage anyone living in China who knows they are Rh negative to consider giving blood.
At the Children’s Hospital of Fudan University alone, over TWO MILLION children are seen each year. Making a blood donation could literally save a child’s life, just like baby Pearl. As one volunteer said, people in China with negative blood have “a valuable and rare substance flowing through their veins,” which we now know people with medical needs are waiting for.
For those living in Shanghai, the donation center below provides blood to Fudan Children’s Hospital:
A foreign passport or Chinese ID card is required to donate.
Thank you all for helping baby Pearl and for proving, yet again, that COMMUNITY is an absolutely beautiful thing!