She conquers fear of needles to give back

She conquers fear of needles to give back
Ms Asnah Ariffin and her husband, Mr Halim Mohd.
PHOTO: The New Paper

As a firefighter, ambulance driver and now part of the service support unit with the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), Mr Halim Mohd, 51, understands the need for blood donation.

That is why he has been donating blood for over 20 years.

But his wife of 25 years, Ms Asnah Ariffin, also 51, never tried donating blood because needles scared her.

In November last year, Ms Asnah, a housewife, accompanied Mr Halim to the Bloodbank @ Woodlands, run by the Singapore Red Cross.

This time, she decided to donate blood.

"Just seeing the needle made me scared. But when I finally tried it, I didn't feel any pain, it was like an ant bite," she said.

The couple met in 1991, after a friend gave Mr Halim her phone number. Ms Asnah had just come out of a broken engagement.

They decided to meet after talking on the phone for a month.

The couple got married six months later, and now have three sons aged 18, 21 and 23.

Mr Halim said they encourage their sons to donate blood.

He said: "There's always a need for blood. I see it at work."

Another married couple that gives back to the community is Mr Alvin Ee and his wife, Ms Chan Kah Mun, both 30.


Mr Alvin Ee and his wife, Ms Chan Kah Mun.Photo: The New Paper

They are volunteer instructors with the Singapore Red Cross Academy.

Mr Ee is a senior staff nurse at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and Ms Chan is an occupational health nurse.

They were working in the A&E department at SGH when they met on Aug 1, 2012. Mr Ee said he began admiring her from afar after passing her a case.

"It was hard to get to know her because our department has over 200 people," he said.

Ms Chan only remembers becoming friends with Mr Ee after a department outing in March 2013.

She then asked Mr Ee where to fulfil community involvement hours for her degree.

Mr Ee, who has volunteered with the Red Cross since secondary school, immediately suggested she join him.

Ms Chan became a volunteer for First Aid on Wheels at East Coast Park, providing medical assistance to visitors.

They became a couple in November 2013, and married last October.

The couple juggled part-time studies and long shifts at work from 2014 to last year, so they rarely volunteered together.

Mr Ee added: "But we're still much luckier than other couples because we saw each other every day at work."

To volunteer together more often, Mr Ee encouraged Ms Chan to join him as a volunteer instructor with the Red Cross Academy last year. They have taught several classes together.

Ms Chan said: "I was wondering why he is so into education, so I took up the instructor's course last year.

"The students learn from you, and after they pass the course, they pass it on to others. It's very satisfying."

This article was first published on Feb 14, 2017.
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