(From left) Bishnu Narayan Pany, Biranchi Narayan Pany and Surya Narayan Pany with their family and relatives. (Photo: Shamim Qureshy)
Every two seconds, somebody needs blood in India. In fact, a single accident victim may require 10 units of blood. And of the approximate 60 per cent Indian population that is eligible to donate blood, only one per cent actually does in a year.
It becomes essential then to donate blood and spread awareness about doing so. And the Pany family from Dhenkanal town in Odisha, where donating blood is a tradition, leads the way by setting an example.
Biranchi Narayan Pany, 62, has donated at least 103 units of blood in various camps and in times of need for friends, acquaintances as well as strangers. His two daughters, too, have been regular donors. Similarly, his sister Suprava and younger brother’s wife Binilata have also donated blood over a dozen times.
Their charity is much needed in a town like Dhenkanal where the number of road mishaps has increased of late as National Highway 55 passes right through the district and the region is growing industrially.
While Biranchi hit the 103rd mark at the age of 62, his younger brother Surya Narayan Pany (54) has donated blood 30 times. That is not all. The youngest of the siblings, Bishnu Narayan Pany (52), despite being physically challenged, has donated blood as many as 22 times so far.
Pany learnt the significance of blood donation from his professor Radha Mohan who used to encourage students to donate blood.
“I remember his eyes welling up once in the classroom when he was describing how people were dying for want of blood. That is when I embraced this philosophy and started donating blood even when voluntary camps were not so common,” Biranchi says.
He says people fear donating blood will be painful, time consuming, it would make them weak or cause loss of potency or infections, but these are just myths and none of this is true. “My wife, who passed away five years ago, was initially opposed to the idea of donating blood,” he says.
“But once the common myths associated with blood donation she had were dispelled, she understood. Before she breathed her last, she had donated as many as 14 units of blood in a gap of every six months,” says Biranchi, an advocate.
His nephew and niece too have donated blood several times during college camps and otherwise.
Apart from donating blood actively, Biranchi has also worked to create awareness on voluntary blood donation.
He is the chairman of Dhenkanal Blood Donors and Motivators Association that was formed 10 years ago and works closely with Red Cross Blood Bank to promote awareness on voluntary blood donation. The association has organised several camps with support of the district administration, Red Cross Blood Bank and civil society bodies in the area.
“We organise blood donation camps in clubs, religious centres, industries, public places and spread awareness among students, industry workers as well as government officials to meet gap between demand and supply,” Biranchi says.
“We must not beg, rather involve more people in blood donation camps on a regular basis,” he says. “I am confident that I can donate blood till I am 65. Before I die, I must do my bit to save lives.”