Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 9 July 2020

Emirati biker becomes one of nation's top blood donors

Adel Ali Hussain reveals why he continues to give blood after donating for the 53rd time

Adel Ali Hussain on his quadbike during a recent desert tour near Dubai. Courtesy: Mr Hussain
Adel Ali Hussain on his quadbike during a recent desert tour near Dubai. Courtesy: Mr Hussain

An inspirational Emirati biker who has donated blood more than 53 times is hoping others will follow his lead.

Adel Ali Hussain, 40, is a member of UAE Bikers, a club of like-minded people with a passion for motorcycles and off-road quad biking.

On one group tour, riders saw a desert mobile donation unit and stopped by to enquire about giving blood.

Just a few years later Mr Hussain found himself donating for the 53rd occasion to mark World Blood Donor day this week in Dubai.

“One of us decided to go and visit the blood donation car and to do something good and it just caught on,” said Mr Hussain, a network engineer with Etisalat.

“Our group has about 50 members and the idea has been very popular with lots of our riders now regularly giving blood.”

Quadbike and motorcycle enthusiasts from across the country are signed up to the UAE Bikers group, from Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Fujairah.

It attracts people from all nationalities and backgrounds, united by a passion for exploring the vast desert landscapes of the Emirates.

The blood donor centre inside Latifa Hospital has been collecting samples for use in hospitals across Dubai since 1986.

As blood can only be stored for a limited time, supplies of rarer negative blood types have run low during the Covid-19 pandemic due to travel restrictions.

Hospitals in Abu Dhabi launched an appeal for donors to come forward after supplies hit a record low in April.

Mr Hussain was one of many to answer the call on June 14, marking World Blood Donor Day with his 53rd donation.

“When they said I had donated for the 53rd time, I was very surprised,” said Mr Hussain, who lives in Fujairah.

“Hopefully it will challenge others to try and give as many times in the future. I know whenever I give blood it can go on to help a lot of other people.

“It is more than that though, as I know it is also good for my own health. Our group has become like a family and many of us have become blood donors.”

Emirati engineer and biker, Adel Ali Hussain. Reem Mohammed / The National
Emirati engineer and biker, Adel Ali Hussain. Reem Mohammed / The National

Health benefits of donating blood include a reduced risk of cancer. It can also reduce the risk of liver and pancreas damage, while improving cardiovascular health and reducing obesity.

Dubai Health Authority revealed that the Latifa Hospital centre provided 13,000 blood units to public hospitals and 7,000 to private hospitals last year.

Of those, 3,500 units were for Thalassemia patients, an inherited blood disorder and one of the most common genetic illnesses in the UAE.

According to the DHA’s Clinical Support Services and Nursing Sector, about 66,000 donors from 150 nationalities were registered to give blood in Dubai in 2019.

So far in 2020, an additional 25,000 people have registered to give blood, with 22,000 already visiting the centre to donate.

“Donating blood has a great impact in saving others’ lives,” said Humaid Al Qutami, director general of the DHA.

“The DHA would like to express its appreciation and gratitude to all those who donated blood to save the lives of others, especially those who donate regularly and those who donate for emergency cases.”

Updated: June 18, 2020 12:30 PM

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