SRINAGAR: You could call Shabir Hussain Khan the ‘Blood Man’ of Kashmir. He has donated blood 159 times so far and wants to continue the good work. The 55-year-old is a papier mache artist and lives in Nowhatta area in Srinagar His blood group is O+ and he been donating blood since he was 18. “I first donated blood in 1980 when I was 18. A footballer friend of mine was injured and I donated blood for him,” Shabir told The Sunday Standard. The 159th time he donated blood was last Thursday.
In the last 38 years, Shabir has donated about 55 litres of blood. “I donate blood after every three months. It is a humanitarian service and I feel a sense of satisfaction because it helps save precious lives,” he said.
There is always a demand for blood in the conflict-ridden Valley where encounters between militants and security forces and clashes between securitymen and protesters are routine.
Shabir said his friends as well as doctors had been encouraging him to continue donating blood. “Not only do they counsel me, the doctors have also given me a diet chart,” he said, adding he planned to keep doing it till the medically stipulated age of 65.
Asked if he donated blood voluntarily, he said, “Of course, it is voluntary. It’s not for money. I have never received a single penny from anybody for donating blood. I am doing humanitarian service.”
Shabir said there was a fair bit of awareness about blood donation but a lot more needed to be done to encourage people to come forward. He himself has inspired some youngsters and is part of a group that organises blood-donor motivation programmes and blood donation camps.
Dr Javaid Iqbal Khan, haemotologist and transfusion specialist, said he had seen Shabir regularly donating blood since 2008.
“Because of Shabir, other people get motivated and come forward to donate blood. They feel that if Shabir can donate blood so often without facing health issues, why can’t they,” he said, adding he knew of a person who had donated blood 60 times so far.
Iqbal said in India anyone between 18 and 65 years could donate blood every three months. the cut-off age was 75 in the US. The oldest regular blood donor is Dale Faughn, a 91-year-old American citizen Dale Faughn.
“Since we live in a conflict zone, we need more blood. The more people are made aware about blood donation, the more blood will be donated and more lives can be saved,” he said. Blood banks in Jammu and Kashmir are supported by the National AIDS Control Organisation. “The blood bags are supplied by NACO and screening is done through equipment provided by them,” Iqbal said.
55 litres of blood donated by Shabir in the last 38 yrs
1980 was the year he donated blood for the first time