PGI honours ‘star donors’ on Blood Donors Day

When the Indian Army were fighting the 1971 war with Pakistan, a young man decided to contribute by donating blood.

Now, at 60, Charanjit Singh continues to donate. So far, he has donated blood 177 times.

On the occasion of World Blood Donors Day on Monday, Singh and other 'star donors' were honoured at PGI blood bank.

"It's a myth that blood donation leads to blood loss. I have donated blood all these years. Now, at 60, I feel 45 years old," Singh told Newsline.

Singh's O-positive blood, a relatively rare blood group which can be transfused in all patients with positive blood groups, has helped many over the years.

But the Sharma family has a larger share of contributions. The pioneer in the family, 65-year-old Harish Sharma, has donated blood 165 times. Further, he has inspired his daughter and son to be regular donors.

The Sector 22-based family is special for another reason: They have O-negative blood group, which makes them universal donors for all blood groups.

"My donations began purely by chance. In 1969, a friend's sister needed blood and I offered to donate. I didn't even know that I had this rare blood group," Sharma said. "Dr J G Jolly, the then head of the Department of Transfusion Medicine, encouraged me to donate regularly. I never stopped after that."

His 26-year-old son Chetan and 30-year-old daughter Chetna are regular donors.

Similarly, the Bhardwajs have O-negative blood group and are regular donors. The family — father Hemant, daughter Parul and son Sahil — was also honoured at PGI on Monday.

"Thanks to high awareness and literacy, Chandigarh has emerged as a pioneer in voluntary blood donation — 90 per cent of the total donations come from voluntary donors. This is way above the national average," Dr R R Sharma, a faculty member at the Department of Transfusion Medicine, said. "The credit goes to donors and the strong tradition of blood donation in the city."

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