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Saving lives:Meet Kashmir’s blood donors

Post by on Sunday, June 19, 2022

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Kashmir has many selfless volunteers who donate their precious blood to save the lives of patients during emergencies. They are always on their toes to donate blood to the needy.

Shabir Ahmad Khan, from Srinagar, has set an example by donating 178 pints of blood in the past 42 years to help the needy and poor patients across Kashmir.
 
The 62-year-old is a papier-mache artist and lives in Kamagarpora area Nowhatta area in Srinagar. His blood group is O+ and he has been donating blood since he was 18.
 
He remains ready to donate blood to save precious lives. He has become India's biggest blood donor.
 
“I donate blood after every three months. It is a humanitarian service and I feel a sense of satisfaction because it helps save precious lives,” he said.
 
Khan told Rising Kashmir that he began donating blood when he was just a 15-year-old boy. At that time there was no concept of blood donation in Kashmir. He is the man behind this movement in Valley.
 
“Since 1980s to till date, I am a regular donor and have donated my blood for the sake of humankind,” he said.
 
He has earned the epithet of ‘Blood Man of India’ for his inspiring example and also motivating others to join the caravan.
 
Khan said he used to spend time at Srinagar hospitals to find needy patients. But now he remains in constant touch with local volunteers who update him about any emergency.
 
He has inspired some youngsters and is part of a group that organises blood-donor motivation programmes and blood donation camps.
 
Khan, who started donating blood alone, is now heading hundreds of volunteers across Kashmir who remains ready to donate blood in times of need.
 
"The refreshment to blood donors should be enhanced as the AIDS Control Society Kashmir and special I-cards should be issued for donors so that their contribution can be appreciated," he said.

Showkat Ali Wani, resident of Balhama area of Srinagar says donating blood is noble act, it saves lives.  He has so far donated 95 pints of blood in last 15 years.

Wani started donating blood after his mother was admitted in Bone and Joint Hospital Barzulla and at that time there was an adequate shortage of blood in the hospital.

He says blood is not something that can be purchased from the market. That time he decided to donate blood and have never looked back till date.

"We are on our toes every time and during the night it becomes difficult as I have no convenience to reach the hospital. Still, I manage things in case of any emergency,"Wani said. 

He says although donating blood leads to temporary weakness in the body, “in the long run it appears to be one of the main causes of remaining healthy.

Shabir Ahmad Khan, from Srinagar, has set an example by donating 178 pints of blood in the past 42 years to help the needy and poor patients across Kashmir.

The 62-year-old blood donor is a Papier-mâchéartist who lives in Kamagarpora area of Nowhatta in Srinagar. His blood group is O+ and he has been donating blood since he was 18 years.

He always remain ready to donate blood to save precious lives and has become India's biggest blood donor.

“I donate blood after every three months. It is a humanitarian service and I feel a sense of satisfaction because it helps save precious lives,” he said.

Khan told Rising Kashmir that he began donating blood during his teenage. At that time there was no concept of blood donation in Kashmir. He is the man behind this movement in Valley.

“Since 1980s to till date, I am a regular donor and have donated my blood for the sake of humankind,” he said.

He has earned the epithet of ‘Blood Man of India’ for his inspiring example and also motivating others to join the caravan.

Khan said he used to spend time at Srinagar hospitals to find needy patients. But now he remains in constant touch with local volunteers who update him about any emergency.

He has inspired some youngsters and is part of a group that organises blood-donor motivation programmes and blood donation camps.

Khan, who started donating blood alone, is now heading hundreds of volunteers across Kashmir who remains ready to donate blood in times of need.

Both Showkat Ali Wani and Shabir Hussain Khan are lifelong members of the Indian Red Cross Society and Civil Defense Srinagar.

Mushtaq Hussain Mir, a resident of Guru Bazar Srinagar has also donated over 100 pints of blood so far out of which 61 pints have registered with the Red Cross society.

"For the past 30 years, I have been donating blood to serve humanity. I don’t have all records of blood donation. Now it has become routine for me to donate the blood after every three months," he said.

Mir says it was 1991when his mother along with several women died in a house-collapse incident in Lal Bazar. Donating my blood is a small tribute to my mother," he said.

47-year-old Mir has motivated his brother Barkat Ali, his sister and friends to donate their blood. They also donate blood and it gives us inner solace, he said.

"I go once every three months and do my bit. Of course, I am still apprehensive before stepping into the blood bank due to my fear of needles, but then I remind myself that I need to do this to help others.” Mir added.

Mohammad Jaffar, a resident of the Labartal area of central Kashmir's Budgam district has donated 44 pints of blood so far since 1998.

The 37-year-old Brick Kiln owner says each day there is a need for hundreds of pints of blood in hospitals. The more people are made aware about blood donation, the more blood will be donated and more lives can be saved.

"Whenever I get any call, I left my work in mid-way and reach the concerned hospital in short possible time.  It’s not for money. I have never received a single penny from anybody for donating blood. I am doing humanitarian service," Mir said.

Bilqees Ara, an Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) working at the health and wellness centre at Gundchabotra village in Langate, Kupwara has donated blood 28 times during the past 10 years.

She donated her first blood pint in 2012 to her cousin who was pregnant and was in dire need of blood.

"I had accompanied my cousin to the hospital where doctors said she needed blood. That is how I donated for the first time,” she said.

Bilqees, a mother of three children said, once her child was ailing in a hospital and needed blood, she donated that time too.

“I ask everyone to donate blood. There is nothing wrong with it. There is still a social stigma about it when it comes to females. But now I get calls from many women who also want to donate their blood,” she says.

Optimistic Bilquees is satisfied being part of such a noble cause. “If I save a life by donating one pint, it gives me pleasure. I want to donate till my last breath,” she said.

Nasreena Bano is another blood from Tantraypora village in Magam area.She is the eldest in her family and donated 12 pints of blood for more than 7 years.She has set an example by becoming the only female donor in her area.

Daughter of a labourer, she has donated blood most of the times in Srinagar hospitals including maternity hospital Lal Ded.

Jameela Bano, 45, a resident of the Ganderbal district is another such example who has donated 10 pints of blood in the past eighteen years.

“My in-laws support me for this. I actively started donating blood after giving birth to my children. I do it for the sake of humanity,” she says.

Jameela, a mother of two children, recalls that she first time donated blood at a donation camp in Bandipora, way back in 2000.

“I am always ready. There is no issue of time when it comes to saving someone’s life. What better could it be, if my blood saves someone’s life,” she says.

Gazala Mushtaq, a female blood donor from Shalimar, has donated 11 points of blood so far. She is a laboratory technician and has been donating blood for the past several years.

She said there is a hospital at Shalimar. I have given them my phone number and asked them to call me if someone needs blood in case of any emergency,” she says.

Besides being a blood donor, Gazala is also an active campaigner for the cause and motivates other girls to donate blood and save lives.

On June 14, World Blood Donor Day was celebrated and this year's theme “Donating blood is an act of solidarity. Join the effort and save lives”  drew attention to the roles that voluntary blood donations play in saving lives and enhancing solidarity within communities.

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