70th blood donation from a man with intellectual disabilities

Conrad Puah Neo made his first blood donation in 1997, and has donated his blood 69 times since.

Looking forward to donating

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Even when I was a blood donor, when they were doing the donation I would just turn away – I didn’t want to look, I didn’t want to anticipate it. Not him, he will look at the needle!

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Conrad always looks forward to donating more blood, and sometimes even a month after donation, he will inquire on when he can donate even more blood yet again!

I like to donate blood and I’m not scared, this blood will save patients.

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Early Development

Conrad suffers from an intellectual disability, due to suffering from a high fever when he was younger.

His parents did not realise that the fever would have such a large impact on Conrad until they they realized his delays on several milestones whilst growing up.

His condition was finally confirmed when he was 4 years of age. His parents were initially devastated, but they later pledged to immerse him in a normal life:

We would not ‘hide’ him at home, and he would socialise like others in his age group.

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Being helpful in his nature

Conrad graduated from Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) Towner Gardens School when he was 18.

He currently packs earphones at Minds Idea Employment Development Centre (MINDS IEDC).

His father, Clement, gushes about how Conrad is always looking out for how to be helpful to those around him.

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We spent three years in Israel where he went to a Hebrew school. At the first parent-teacher conference, the teacher said: ‘Please tell Conrad not to be so helpful!’

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Conrad has often been commended on the fact that he is willing to bend over backwards to be of service to others:

He would see the teacher drop the duster and from the back of the class, he would walk there. And when he walks, he doesn’t care what comes in between… even the table could be knocked over. That’s him.

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Conrad certainly has a heart of gold, and takes initiative in attempts to help others.

Like father, like son

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Frequently accompanying Mr Puah Neo to his blood donating adventures, it was only about time that Conrad followed suit.

I explained to him that blood saves lives, so from very young, he wanted to donate blood himself. So as soon as he was able to, when he was 21 years old, I brought him.

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Unfortunately, there appears to be fewer youths coming forward to donate blood. From 2012 to 2016, is has been reported that the number of youths donating blood decreased by 13%.

This greatly contrasts the growing demand, of which blood usage rate is said to increase 3% to 5% annually.

Regular donors like Conrad are important to the blood replenishing ecosystem we currently have in place in Singapore.

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Conrad aims to reach his 100th donation in 2023!

His outlook to life and willingness to help others through any given capacity is testament to his desire to simply be good. Conrad has never let his intellectual disability stopped him from doing more and doing good.

Conrad’s ways also prompts us to donate more blood, due to the consistent need by our fellow Singaporeans. Let us, like Conrad, lend a helping hand.


If you would like to donate blood, you can sign up here with HSA.

Cover image from here (left) and here (right).

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