Tuesday, 6 April 2010

A Very Special 2S2 on Saturday (possibly)... Korean/English Bilingual Person Needed

Hey there.
You've probably heard about this guy: There's a Korean student, about 19 years old, who's suffering from lymphoma, a kind of blood cancer. There's a page for him on Facebook. Basically, he has B- blood, which is extremely rare in Korea, and also a bad blood type to get sick with, because it can only receive from O- (in certain cases) and other B- types. There's been a push to get some help for him, and because so few Koreans have B- blood, word has been circulating among the expat community.

Now, on Saturday, for 2S2, I'd really like to bring a group down to the blood clinic to donate blood. If you have B- blood, especially, really, seriously think about coming out and helping out, because this kid is not doing well. Even if you don't, giving blood is a cool thing, and, frankly, a powerful symbolic action that projects a really positive image at a time when English teachers in particular are taking a beating.

I've located a blood donation clinic in Sinchon, and I even went down there today with a good friend to talk with the people. After a bit of talk, here's the score:

They don't usually take blood donations from foreigners, because of communication problems, concerns about where we (typically well-travelled folk) have been, and maybe also other... um... less scientific reasons, that aren't the focus of this post.

Now, we might be able to go down there and give blood on Saturday, but before we do, the lady we talked to gave me her phone number, and has asked me to have a bilingual friend contact her, to make sure she can explain the process in detail, and have that information accurately relayed to any would-be expat donors. She spent a lot of time talking about the correct process for donating blood... fair enough.

So, readers, here's where you can help: I really want this to happen, and I have a phone number, but not the language skill. Is there a reader out there who's fluent in Korean, and able to talk to this lady, and then explain the "process" to me, so that I can clearly pass that on to anyone else who needs to have it explained? I'd totally owe you a beer at the microbrew of your choice.

And that's our tentative 2S2 for Saturday: Meet at Anguk station Twosome Place (same time, same place, every month), go down to the donor clinic in Sinchon, and give blood... IF we can get the communication issues cleared up. This means that if you can talk to the lady tomorrow, I need you to send me a message tonight, to roboseyo at gmail dot com, with your phone number, so that we can clear up her concerns about misunderstandings or improper adherence to due process.

Also, if any of my bilingual readers are free on Saturday afternoon, please accept this as a gentle nudge that your presence would help de-stress these poor, nervous nurses at the clinic. It would be hugely appreciated, even if you're not B-!

If you want to donate blood, here's the nitty gritty:
1. You need to have an Alien Registration Card. Bring it, and be ready to present it.
2. You need to have been in Korea for a year.
3. You need to be able to answer some questions about your medical history... this part was a bit murky, and this might be the deal-breaker which will decide if we can go ahead or not. The guy at the Seoul Global Center, while very helpful, was pretty sure that if you don't speak enough Korean to answer the medical history questions yourself, you wouldn't be able to donate; hopefully we'll learn a way that we still can tomorrow, even if we can't speak all the Korean. I'll keep you posted.

If this doesn't work out, we'll do something else for 2S2, probably involving really, really good food. But I hope we can make this work.


Deb said...

You mean the post blood donation cookie isn't what you'd consider really good food??

Matt Strum said...

I haven't been in Korea for a year (kind of a strange requirement), but if y'all are gonna do lunch somewhere I'd love to go for that! I've got another thing I have to get to near Jongno around 1 though ><.

I'm no Picasso said...

Rob -- What about not knowing your blood type? Problem?

Roboseyo said...

come and they'll find out at the clinic. If you're B- and know it, that's best; even if you aren't, everybody always needs blood.

Paul Ajosshi said...

Just to let you know that this was in the Korea Times article this week on Yoowon and blood donation:

"Not all well-meaning expatriates are able to help, though. The Red Cross in Korea does not accept donations from people who have spent five years in European countries where mad cow disease has been reported, which was most, from 1980 to the present. As well as People who have spent one month or more in the U.K. from 1980 to 1996 or three months or more in the U.K. from 1997 to the present."

So Brits like myself are unable to help out... It's a shame... I hope that those of you who can donate are able to help him!

Roboseyo said...

That's correct, Paul; here's a google doc explaining which countries are restricted.