PETALING JAYA, Jan 19 — Ibrahim Mat Taib had to disregard how fearful he was of needles when he donated blood for the first time in his late 20s to help save a friend’s life.

Ibrahim, 53, who works as a funeral undertaker in Kota Baru, told Malay Mail that since he was 27, he has donated blood a total of 166 times.

“I still remember the incident in 1997 that opened my eyes to the importance of blood donation.

“My close friend who rode a motorcycle was in an accident with a woman in a car and had lost a lot of blood.

“None of my friends or relatives were willing to donate blood at that time as many didn’t dare and so I volunteered.”

Ibrahim, who is an O blood donor, added that the Kota Baru hospital had lacked blood bags and someone was needed to donate blood.

“That friend who met with an accident was also an O blood recipient and so it was compatible for me to donate blood to him.

“There were many instances where I’ve been even called up twice or thrice a month to donate blood by the hospital.

“I remember after my fifth time donating blood, I was also encouraged to donate platelets and blood plasma to help those with serious injuries.”

He confessed that there were times where he used to get so addicted to the idea of donating blood because he knows that someone else’s life is at stake.

To him, donating blood is not only able to save lives of fire victims, Thalassemia patients, mothers who have had postpartum haemorrhage and so on.

“I hope my other friends and family members would be inspired to donate blood because many lives that can be saved through your goodwill of donating your own blood.

“First-time blood donors might find the experience painful but once you regularly go for it, it would be an enjoyable experience because you know you’re saving someone who is in dire need of blood,” he said.