I still had this prick mark in my left arm as I wrote this piece. I had my blood screened for donation. I don’t know the patient, or what he’s down with. I’m not interested. I’ve been donating blood for 12 years now and most of the time only a hangover stops me from saying yes.

If somebody needs blood, and he sounds like he’s about to cry pleading over the phone, he means it. Lack of blood is not something people lie about. It’s blood, for Christ’s sake. And somebody needs it quick.

But there’s more to my decision to always make my blood available to whoever needs it and whenever it’s possible. My blood is of the “rare” type. Now, it’s not one of those cases when being “unique” is cool. When it comes to blood types, there’s nothing cool in being part of only one percent of Asia’s population and less than 15 percent of the world’s. If anything, we’re freaks, or to be scientifically correct, mutants. It’s not something to celebrate about.

I have an O negative blood. And when someday I’ll find myself bleeding to death, my relatives will be spending precious hours hunting for people who share my blood type. And I will consider myself extremely lucky if the hospital can find at least three potential matches in one day. I will consider myself God’s beloved if one of these three people is willing to donate.

So, what is this blood? I’m not in the medical profession, but I’ll attempt a little explanation (It got me so worried one time that I spent hours learning about it in the Internet).

It’s like this. Many scientists believe that modern man evolved from ape-like primates. They found out that majority of mankind (85 percent) has a blood factor common with the rhesus monkey. This is called rhesus positive blood, shortened to Rh positive.

Rh factor is a protein that can be found on the surface of red blood cells. If the Rh factor is present in your blood, your blood type is positive; if it is not present, your blood type is negative. Each of the four blood types—O, A, B, and AB—can be “negative” or “positive” with respect to Rh.

On the creepy side, the Rh negative factor is considered a “mutation of unknown origin which happened in Europe, about 25,000-35,000 years ago,” a source said. Another source is spookier. “We came from aliens!”
In the US, about 15 percent are Rh negative. In the Philippines and in the whole of Asia, it’s approximately one percent.

What about in Cebu? As far as records at the Red Cross headquarters along Osmeña Blvd. are concerned, there are only 23 of us in the entire region. Of this pathetic figure, only 15 are active donors. The other eight had been walk-ins who fled at the sight of a needle, never to be found again, Red Cross personnel said.

At the Cebu City Medical Center, the laboratory in-charge asked me to please give him more time to dig the records. The Perpetual Soccour Hospital, Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center told me to come and do the hunt myself. Finding a needle in a haystack is time consuming.

I learned about the “National Registry of Rh Negative and Other Rare Blood Types” based in Manila, only because I searched the Internet, not because the group went out of its way to reach us.

I’m writing about this because there’s a need for us Rh negatives to organize ourselves and develop camaraderie, so that when all this fuel increase and rice shortage stuff becomes too much, we can always hop on to our spaceships and fly back to our home among the stars.