IPOH, May 4 (Sin Chew Daily) -- Starting to donate blood at the age of 17, a doctor specializing in internal medicine has donated blood 202 times in the past 38 years.
Dr Tan Ooi Hong, who donates blood for four to six times a year, is aiming to break the record by becoming the top blood donor in the world.
Tan, 55, said Malaysia allows blood donation up to 60 years of age. Malaysians in good health are able to donate blood up to 65 years old.
He hopes to donate blood until he reaches 70 so that he can break the world record of 274 blood donations.
Tan donated blood for the 202nd time at the Chin Woo Hall during a blood donation drive organized by the Ipoh Chinese Chin Woo Athletic Association on Monday. He donated six times a year for 25 years and four times a year for 13 years.
After donating blood for 100 times, he felt he was younger.
Dr Tan started to donate blood for the first time at the age of 17 for a classmate's father who had met with an accident.
His classmates formed a group of six to donate six packs of blood at the hospital for the classmate's father.
Coming from a poor family, Tan said he was excited to discover that he could help others through blood donation.
Since then he decided to donate blood on a regular basis.
When he was studying at the university, he donated blood at Universiti Hospital.
He donated blood in the United Kingdom when he was there to sit for a test and also donated in Taiwan when he was pursuing his studies there.
After returning home, he donated blood at the hospital where he worked.
He was donating blood at Pantai Hospital for many years until he switched to Ipoh General Hospital five years ago.
"Donating blood has become part of my life," he said, adding that he would be the first person to donate blood for the day so that he could return to Pantai Hospital by 8.30am.
"I feel young. As I donate blood regularly, my body is like 30 years old although I am over 50 now. My skin is good and I do not have hair loss problem. My blood pressure is like those who are in the 20s," he said.
Tan's twin sons have also started donating blood at the age of 17. They are currently studying in university and have since donated 11 times each.
"If everyone starts to donate blood at the age of 17, I believe the blood bank will not be facing shortage of blood," he said.