The best time of year to save lives
Those who donate blood say that there are few better feelings than that of giving the gift of life to others. As Hana Al Shamlan, a regular donor, told this newspaper, “giving something without asking for anything in return feels great”. She added that it was “good for the soul”.
However, blood donations tend to fall sharply every year during the summer months and Ramadan. Many people are either fasting or travelling abroad, with the consequence that only a few take the time to donate blood. To combat this, as The National reported yesterday, blood banks in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are urging people to come forward and donate blood to boost stocks during the summer months, in which blood banks often have to reach out to regular donors to secure the needed blood for people with cancer or chronic conditions, such as thalassaemia and sickle-cell anaemia.
It is unfortunate that blood donations drop during the holy month of Ramadan, the month of selfless giving. The act of giving blood is an easy, safe and priceless kind of charity that helps save lives. It is also a good way to help other people and give back to the community. This does not only apply to Muslims celebrating the spirit of the holy month, but also to everyone looking for a chance to make a difference.
Blood has a shelf-life, which means that hospitals are in need of regular donors all the time. For example, those with thalassaemia, one of the most common genetic blood disorders affecting haemoglobin and red blood cells, need to undergo regular blood transfusion requiring as fresh blood as possible to survive. While blood banks can store freshly donated blood for a maximum of six weeks, thalassaemia patients need maximum of one week or five-days-old blood, according to Dr Laila Al Shaer, head of the Dubai Blood Donation Centre. And so this would be the most appropriate time to lend a hand to them.
Apart from the aspect of selfless giving, there is also a health benefit to donating blood, as it helps to keep the levels of blood pressure and iron in the body in check and theoretically reduces the risk of cancer.
So if you are in good health, aged between 17 and 65 and weigh more than 50 kilograms, why don’t you visit the nearest blood donation centre, raise your sleeves, and perhaps save a life?
Updated: June 21, 2014 04:00 AM