As part of being the caregiver to a cancer patient, I experienced firsthand the helplessness that most caregivers feel when their patient is in dire need of blood and they cannot find donors. In several instances a bottle of blood is really the savior of life. You can literally see your patient's condition change for the better after that blood infusion. And you really want to touch the feet of the donor for the noble act of donating blood for your patient. But finding an eligible donor is the main problem.
It is at these times that you realize that India isn't really a nation of healthy people. There are very few people who are 60 or even 50 and not on medication of any kind. So they get ruled out as donors. A lot of the middle-aged people i.e. the 40+ group begins to complain of either hypertension or diabetes and you are lucky if you can get a donor in that age group. And the younger lot, i.e. the 18 and up, well very few of them are in the country, and those that are there may be unavailable to donate due to various reasons. The women are mostly anaemic. So inspite of a huge population India remains a country where the paucity of potential donors is huge.
We also happen to be a people living in the dark ages when it comes to our awareness about blood donation. We still have a lot of mind blocks- why should I, others will do it; it is for the rickshawallahs to do it; I may get infected with AIDS etc.; it may lead to weakness; it is time-consuming; it is painful!! Indifference is the biggest malaise of the nation presently, and indifference in this area is really costing us dear.
It was while I was going through the harrowing time of finding suitable donors for my patient did I resolve to become a regular donor myself. I have been able to donate blood thrice since then and would really like to see the Khoon Chooson Aandolan become the lifeline to all those in need of blood.
I am an ordinary lady. I don't consider myself very fit or very strong. I weigh 50kgs on a 5'3" frame. I have my frailties, my aches and pains. And if I can donate blood every 3 months and not be the lesser for it, I think anybody can. It is the easiest hospital experience ever. It is such a rare sight for hospital authorities to come across voluntary donors that they treat you as royalty when you walk in for that purpose.There is just one form you fill up where they want to know about your previous ailments, if any. Then they check your weight, height, blood pressure, blood group and Hb. In fact you can take it as a free medical check-up because they test your blood for various parameters and even mail you the reports if you ask them to. The entire experience may take maximum half an hour. The actual blood donation takes less than 5 minutes. And you also get free juice and a snack after the donation. All the times that I have donated I have really enjoyed the experience and come out feeling very altruistic. And I didn't have to spend a penny to get that feeling. I have probably saved somebody's life with something that I will not miss, for which I did not spend anything, that which I will be producing more of in a short time again. And once that is done I can go back and save somebody else's life again.
The way I see it - Nobody is a loser in this bargain. Everybody gains from the exercise!
So don't think about it too much. Just walk to the nearest hospital with a blood bank in your area and experience the life-altering miracle for yourself.
Spread the word. Be heard. Donate.