Here are two people who restore our faith in mankind. They were felicitated for their numerous blood donations at Hinduja Hospital on World Blood Donor Day. Kailash Kothare (53) was awarded a certificate for 111 donations while Sanjay Gadgounkar (37) for 85 platelet donations. MID DAY spoke to both donors about the stories behind their unyielding generosity.
For the nation
Kothare first donated blood on January 26, 1981 when he was 21 years old. Since then, he has donated blood on a regular basis for the past 32 years. “This is the only thing that I can do for my nation, which doesn’t require either status or money,” he said. As a rule, one cannot donate blood more than four times a year as there should be a minimum gap of three months between each donation.
With the exception of a few years, Kothare has managed to keep up the count since 1981 and has even encouraged family members, colleagues and friends into doing the same. Individually, he has donated 38,850 ml of blood. “I have two friends who have also donated more than 100 times, and my son and daughter, aged 21 and 27 respectively are also following my footsteps,” he added. Additionally, while he works with NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development), he also teaches the workers’ children and provides corporate guidance to the needy.
Friend in need
Sanjay Gadgounkar may have been felicitated for his total number of platelet donations, but this number leaves out his initial blood donations at Tata Memorial Hospital for around three years. “I had first started donating blood at the hospital, but when I heard about the rising need for platelet donations, I switched to donating those instead,” he said.
Unlike for blood donations, by rule, one needs to wait for only five days between platelet donations. Along with his brother, Gadgounkar has been donating platelet approximately twice a month for the past 10 years. According to him, he will continue to do so as long as his health permits. He also participates in social service by hosting and ensuring the comfort of patients arriving from other states.
According to Dr Rajesh Sawant, India is in need of 11 to 12 million units of blood per year but only receives nine million units, creating a shortage of two to three million units. Women, especially in rural areas, suffer from blood shortages, as they often succumb to maternal hemorrhaging during childbirth. Platelets, that have a short shelf life of 5 days, are even more significant due to their role in blood clotting. The maximum age limit for blood donors is 65, while that for platelet donors is 60.
The amount of blood donated by Kailash Kothare since 1981
The number of days for which platelets can be stored
12 mn units
The amount of blood that India needs per annum
9 mn units
The amount of blood that India receives per annum
The maximum age limit for blood donors
The maximum age limit for platelet donors