For­eigner do­nates rare blood type

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By SHI XIAOFENG in Hangzhou shixf @chi­nadaily.com.cn

A 21-year-old Ger­man girl re­cently do­nated her “panda blood”, or Rh-neg­a­tive blood, on two oc­ca­sions to save a 75-year-old woman in Wen­zhou, Zhe­jiang prov­ince.

Christa Maria Idel, a lan­guage stu­dent at Zhe­jiang Uni­ver­sity, came to China to study for one se­mes­ter, adopt­ing the Chi­nese name Gao Xiong­mao.

When she found out that her blood type is Rh-neg­a­tive, she called her­self Xiong­mao, the Chi­nese name for panda.

She is 1.75 me­ters tall, so she sur­named her­self Gao, which means tall in Chi­nese.

“I was told that only 0.3 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion in China have ‘panda blood’. The pro­por­tion in some Western coun­tries is as high as 6 per­cent or higher. This was news to me,” she said.

Out of cu­rios­ity, Gao searched on Weibo to find out more in­for­ma­tion about the blood type.

She found a post ask­ing for help from the fam­ily of an old woman who suf­fers from aplas­tic ane­mia and fainted in Oc­to­ber.

She left a mes­sage on the post and a doc­tor con­tacted her a cou­ple of days later.

The old woman, Kong Qin­mei, has merely one-fifti­eth of the nor­mal platelet level

and re­quires blood trans­fu­sions to keep her alive.

There are 4,000 “panda blood” carriers reg­is­tered at the pro­vin­cial blood cen­ter, but only tens of carriers are in Wen­zhou and can be con­tacted, and the hospi­tal was un­able to find enough blood for one trans­fu­sion. Gao de­cided to help Kong. In the mid­dle of last month, Gao skipped class and took a high-speed train to Wen­zhou, a south­ern city she had never heard of about four hours from Hangzhou, the cap­i­tal of Zhe­jiang prov­ince.

“I met the fam­ily. They said ‘thank you’ to me many times, but I don’t think it is a big deal,” she said.

Born in Krefeld, Ger­many, Gao stud­ied at the Uni­ver­sity of Goet­tin­gen, ma­jor­ing in Chi­nese and sports. She had been learn­ing Chi­nese for two years and came to Zhe­jiang Uni­ver­sity as an ex­change stu­dent to im­prove her Chi­nese abil­ity.

“My fa­ther is a doc­tor and al­ways tells me to help those in need. On the train back to the uni­ver­sity, I felt great hap­pi­ness,” she said.

How­ever, af­ter find­ing out on the week­end that Kong had failed to find enough donors for her lat­est trans­fu­sion, Gao went to Wen­zhou on Tues­day and vol­un­teered to do­nate her blood again, with­out hes­i­ta­tion.

“I feel that I have a spe­cial con­nec­tion with Wen­zhou and the fam­ily now,” she said.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

do­nates her Rh-neg­a­tive blood to save a 75-year-old woman in Wen­zhou, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, on Tues­day.

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