The SSSIOA has been running blood donation drive for its members called Liquid Love for several years now. Blood is the most precious gift that one can give another as 1 donation can save up to 3 lives.
Did you know that 1 in 3 people will need blood in their lifetime; this could be a family member, friend, or colleague, but only 1 in 30 donate blood? Red blood cells only last 42 days from when they’re donated. Australia needs over 1.7 million donations every year to meet demand: that’s three every minute. Blood and blood products are a critical part of our health system and are needed for patients with cancer, people with blood disease, surgery and trauma patients, mothers following childbirth, people having a bone marrow transplant and for people with various haematological conditions.
Most healthy adults in Australia can give blood via the Australian Red Cross and we encourage our members to register their donation under Sathya Sai International Organisation of Australia Liquid Love Project. Under this banner in 2022, we had 136 whole blood donations, 328 plasma donations and 6 platelet donations which altogether had the potential to save an amazing 1410 lives. Donations are down from pre-COVID levels and now that the disruptions have eased, it is hoped to bring our numbers back to the previous levels. Donating blood is a service that characterises so many of the principles that Sathya Sai Baba taught and embodied- unconditional love, selfless service, and compassion for those in need.
Many feel squeamish about giving blood and are reluctant to make that first donation. With this in mind, let us introduce you to Ghajan who has donated over 300 times, the most prolific donor in the Liquid Love program. We caught up with Ghajan to ask him a few questions regarding his donations.
What inspired you to start giving blood and when did it all start?
I started giving blood in 2004 when a fellow Young Adult organised a blood drive for a group of us. It was my first donation and, to be honest, I was not fond of needles and was a bit apprehensive but there were others there that I knew doing it and I thought, why not? I realised afterward it was not as bad as I thought.
I participated in a few group donations like this every 3 months and then a fellow Young Adult told me he was doing fortnightly plasma donations every Monday. I had just started working and this time suited me, so I decided to join him. We would meet every second Monday. What started off initially as a social activity continued for a year and then moved to a Thursday afternoon. 3-4 of us would meet at the Red Cross at 5, donate blood and then go for our weekly meeting after this. I knew it was a worthy service activity though it didn’t always feel like it as we were well looked after by the people there and always got fed after each donation. This pattern continued till 2011 though I also participated with some group donations that occurred on a 3 monthly basis.
From 2011, for various reasons, we moved to donating individually though still on a regular fortnightly basis. I mainly donated plasma though occasionally I donate platelets when needed.
What advice would you give others who are thinking about donating but haven’t quite made the commitment?
Just give it a go and if you can, go as a group as the support of others really helps. The blood bank is very risk averse and they make sure you are fit enough and always keep your health in mind so if they give you the go ahead, it is safe.
Blood is liquid love. For me, giving blood regularly is giving life and hope for someone who is in need of it desperately. The good thing is that I don’ know who will receive it and that is what I like, selfless service. I feel great and happy of being able to be helpful.
You should donate blood to give a little back to the community. Members of my family have required blood transfusions in the past, so I donate blood – or try to donate blood – as a thank you to those who helped my family. Your gift of blood or plasma could save someone’s life – a baby’s life, a mother, a father, a friend. It doesn’t take much time. What could be better than the gift of life?