I am an avid blood donor. In my college too I had donated blood and got yummy refreshments in return. But the best part was that my contribution was literally saving someone’s life. To ensure I get updates regarding blood donation, I signed up to receive notifications from BloodConnect, a wonderful organization working towards addressing blood shortage in India.
Today I again got an opportunity to donate to a blood cancer patient. A BloodConnect official gave me a ring and I promptly went to Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi for doing the same. The sight of a government hospital threw me into a dilemma. Will they ensure that the blood donation process is smooth and fast? Will there be a lot of paperwork? Will I be scrutinized extensively for any physical or psychological maladies? But thankfully, I hardly encountered any such problems.
Nevertheless, the Cancer ward for kids was unnerving. Young souls fighting against a disease so severe such as Cancer touched a chord with me. It got me thinking that whenever I got a sprain or a bruise, I complained that life sucks. But upon seeing these kids, I felt ashamed and was awed with their fighting spirit. I thanked god for blessing me with a healthy body and privileged upbringing. The fact that I could help one of them live a more productive life was joyful.
The patient’s name was Rizwan, a 13 year old kid diagnosed with blood cancer, but due to timely medical intervention, he was recovering steadily with no complications. The joy on their parent’s faces when they saw me was simply amazing. The donation process was rather simple. I filled a form, went for a quick medical checkup, answered standard questions pertaining to my health and then lay down to donate blood. The whole process took roughly 80 minutes. i was then given a Frooty as refreshment and went along my way. While in the hospital, I came across some interesting and rather startling facts.
According to WHO data, India faces a shortage of 3 million blood units. This shortage can easily be eliminated if only an additional 2% of India’s youth donates blood. Moreover, every two seconds someone needs blood. More than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day. But sadly, there are many myths associated with blood donation that prove to be a hindrance. ‘Blood donation makes you weak’, to ‘Blood donation is time consuming’ to ‘Age is a deterrent for blood donation’ and many others makes people shy away from donating this precious elixir of life. To those who feel that blood donation is dangerous, take my advice. It’s a pretty awesome and safe process.
Donor blood, which occupies about 2 units or 350 – 450 ml in the blood bag, is done under safe and sterile conditions. The donor can even enquire regarding the authenticity of the needle. Moreover, strict segregation of hospital waste into appropriate bins ensures that the environment stays neat and clean. Interestingly, former Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar, despite being 65 years of age, has been donating blood every 3 months for the last 40 years. Only now due to his age, doctors have requested him to stop donating.
Now, the question we should ask is that if the country’s top lawman can donate blood for so long and with such ferocious dedication, why can’t we? As John Rambo says, “Live for nothing or die for something.” You don’t have to literally die but your generous contribution is most required. Also, if you began donating blood at age 18 and donated every 90 days until you reached 60, you would have donated 30 gallons of blood, potentially helping save more than 500 lives! Isn’t that simply awesome? Start donating since ‘Raktdaan’ is truly ‘Mahadaan’. All the best Rizwan. Live an awesome life.