Dubai: While doctors, nurses and other frontline warriors continue to serve victims during the peak of the pandemic, the community at large has also been giving back to the community in many ways.
One such avenue that could lead to a difference between life and death is blood donation.
As one of the youngest blood donors at the Dubai Blood Donation Centre, Pakistani-Canadian expatriate Arman Ameer Thariani, 17, has been inspiring many others. Officially allowed to donate blood only after 17, the young boy waited for his 17th birthday to begin his mission.
“I have been inspired by the work my mother Dr Sadaf Jalil does. When she was working with the Deira International School, she organised many blood donation drives for the senior students and inspired them to take up this community service. I decided then that I would donate as soon as I am eligible,” said the A-level student.
Technically, young donors require the consent of a parent or a guardian to donate blood and Arman was accompanied by his mother as they both donated blood together.
Thariani first donated blood soon after his 17th birthday this February and kept up his appointment three months later in May to return to the centre to donate along with his mother. He said his next appointment is in the last week of August.
Dr Jalil, who has been a frontline COVID-19 warrior all throughout the pandemic at the Warsan Isolation facility putting in 12 hours duty at the centre, told Gulf News: “I made sure I took all precautions and followed health protocols while taking Armaan along. I am very passionate about organ donation and blood donation comes under that category. I want to raise awareness about both live and cadaver organ donation in the UAE. While working at school, I organised five blood donation drives, including during Ramadan, and encouraged young 17-18 year olds to donate blood. I have also signed up as an organ donor on the Ministry of Health’s Hayat app. I want both Armaan and my younger son Arkaan, 13, to donate blood regularly. Both my sons are enthusiastic about this. Of course, Arkaan will have to wait until he turns 17,” said Dr Jaleel.
There are others too who are setting a fine example.
Adel Abbas Ali Hussain, 40, an Emirati engineer, has set a record of donating blood 53 times in the last few years and has been a regular donor throughout the last six months during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I have been donating with the stipulated two-month gap during the pandemic,” said Ali, who loves outdoor adventure and cycling. He recalls he was about 35 when he saw a blood donation drive and thought of joining in. “My friends and I were returning from a cycling trip and we all saw the blood donation van and decided to donate blood. I felt extremely happy doing this and decided to make it a regular habit. Earlier, I could donate once every three months but now can donate once every two months. It is a small gesture from me to give back to my community,” said Hussain.
Hope for humanity
Dr Mai Raouf, director of the DHA-run Dubai Blood Donation Centre, is overwhelmed by the sentiment of community members who have come forward to donate blood during the pandemic. “This is the only centre for donors in Dubai. Honestly, during the pandemic we called people requesting for blood donations. The parents would come to donate and bring their children along with them. This gives me hope for humanity. People donated regardless of skin colour or ethnicity or religion. Seeing a large number of regular donors during the pandemic gives us hope.”