While Michael Simning's blood-drive seems to have seen him through the first period of urgent need (Yeah Gwangju! You rock!), there are still ways that you, or anybody in Gwangju, can help. For more information, here's a post from ten magazine. Basically: continue to support Michael's businesses in Gwangju, donate if you can/want, and be ready for the next time he needs blood. More at Kimchi and Cornbread about the Simning night last weekend.
Please remember, especially if you have a rare blood type, to get connected with Blood Connections, the facebook group, and the ATEK blood registry, at http://atek.or.kr/blood. Not many Koreans have negative RH's in their blood types, so you ought to be thinking about what implications that carries for you.
Meanwhile, I got an e-mail from a lady named Colleen. She passes word on to me about a need for A negative blood in Kangnam: a lady named Kargan Valmalmine is in Samsung Hospital in Kangnam.
Now, it's really great that Michael Simning has had so much support in Gwangju; Kargan hasn't been in Seoul for as long, and hasn't contributed as much to Seoul's expat community as Mr. Simning, but that doesn't mean her need for blood is less urgent.
Unfortunately, according to my e-mailings with Colleen, and the messages on the Blood Connections facebook page, it looks like we don't have a clear English-speaking go-to contact who will help donors negotiate the language difficulties; I can send you to this page of mine, which runs down the basics of who can and can't, and how to donate, and includes some important forms; however, there continue to be mixed messages at blood donation clinics about whether foreigners (even those who meet all the other requirements) can donate; generally, you can only be sure they'll let you donate if you speak enough Korean to answer a few interview questions in Korean, have lived in Korea for more than a year, and aren't from the UK (darn Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease). I trust that when an English-and-Korean speaking contact becomes available to facilitate donations becomes available, that information will be posted on the blood connections facebook page, so unless your Korean's sharp, I hope that'll be helpful for now.
Meanwhile, this is getting ridiculous.
Ladies and gentlemen, Korea is an increasingly multicultural country, and it's ludicrous that non-Koreans are running into so freaking many roadblocks just to donate blood, especially when we have many of the blood types that are uncommon in Korea. You'd think that Korean hospitals would be opening their doors and donation chairs to welcome our rare, exotic bloods, and instead we're getting the runaround, "Korean Only" signs and occasional bullshit explanations that "Oh, you can't mix foreign blood with Korean blood. Didn't you know that?" (anecdotally, that's been told to SEVERAL of my contacts when they tried to donate).
What are our options? How can we stir some shit up, to get some movement on this, to facilitate easier donation? What protocols do Canada or USA or the UK have for taking blood from non-citizens? Is the NHRCK the way to go? Letter-writing campaigns to our respective embassies? Something else? Because if we're chasing our tails and playing the "I don't know... can we? Can't we?" game every time a need comes up, that's stupid. Hey Blood Connections People: this is your group, this is your battle. Coordinate something. Figure something out. Contact a human rights lawyer or three and find out the options, because I don't want to be up shit creek without a paddle when it turns out Koreans don't carry my blood type, and they refuse to accept donations from those who do, and I don't think any of my readers want that, either. Whatever action it is -- signing or submitting a complaint to the NHRCK, or whatever else, I'm on board, and I'll promote it here, and try to get my blog friends to promote it, too, because this blood discrimination is supposed to be a thing of Korea's past, and needs like this are only going to become more common in Korea's future.
Before we go big-picture, though, don't forget: if you're in the Kangnam area, somebody needs A negative blood.
Discussion in the comments.