Taipei, Aug. 15 (CNA) Valery Retski, a Belarusian national who has lived in Taiwan for more than 10 years, made his first blood donation Monday as a way of giving back to the Taiwanese for their help.
Retski, who runs several restaurants in Taichung with his Taiwanese wife, said he never donated blood back in his home country because as a dancer he was required to maintain a certain weight and was worried he was too light to give blood.
But he said he was very happy to have the opportunity to donate blood in Taiwan because it can help others and also show his love for the country.
He said he fell in love with Taiwan after coming here with his dance troupe 15 years ago at the age of 23, attracted to its tasty food, friendly people and pleasant climate.
Retski later met his future wife Angel Lin (林盈君) and began to learn to cook various cuisines after marrying her 11 years ago.
With the support of his father-in-law, he opened several Belarusian restaurants in Taichung's Fengyuan and Dongshi districts.
He said he has received substantial help from the Taiwanese people over the years and has been thinking about doing something to give back to them.
When his father-in-law, a Lions Club member, invited him to donate blood at a local blood donation station, he and his wife realized that giving blood was the fastest and most convenient way of giving back to Taiwanese society.
The couple gave blood at Fengyuan blood donation station Monday morning and brought along several of their employees.
To encourage more young people to give blood, Lin and her husband prepared 3,000 discount coupons for their restaurants to give away to blood donors, she said.
(By Chao Li-yen and Y.F. Low)