Dubai: He saved many lives when he was alive. Even after his untimely death in Dubai last week, Indian expat Nithin Chandran continues to help save lives by inspiring others to do what he loved doing the most: donating blood.
In view of the World Blood Donor Day on June 14, hundreds of people donated blood in the UAE and Kerala as a tribute to Nithin, who died in his sleep a month after repatriating his pregnant wife Athira Geetha Sreedharan, 27.
The young couple had become the faces of Indians stranded abroad after she filed a writ petition at India’s Supreme Court seeking help to return home during the COVID-19 pandemic for her first delivery that was expected to be in the first week of July.
The death of Nithin due to a cardiac arrest six days after he turned 28 on June 2 and Athira giving birth to a baby girl the next day without knowing about his death had shocked and saddened the Indian community in the UAE and their hometown in Kerala.
Four blood donation camps held across the emirates on Friday paid homage to Nithin, who had been active in organising blood donation campaigns and arranging blood for patients in the UAE for the past five years.
Around 500 people, including women, took part in the donation camps organised by Blood Donors Kerala-UAE chapter, said Bibin Jacob, a volunteer with the group and a close friend of Nithin.
“Had he been alive, he would have been the main coordinator for the donation camp we planned to mark the World Blood Donor Day. But after his death, he inspired many more people to join us in his memory,” he said.
A high turnout in Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah was attributed to Nithin’s death.
“Everyone felt it was the most apt way to pay tributes to him. Many people including women turned up even amidst the COVID situation because of that.”
In Abu Dhabi, another blood donors’ group, BD4U, orgnaised a special donation camp in honour of Nithin.
“Around 200 people came forward to donate blood. People took the risk of coming mainly to pay tributes to him,” said Vijay Babu, one of the founders of BD4U.
Both the donor groups are planning to conduct mega blood donation campaigns in memory of Nithin once the coronavirus pandemic eases.
Several of his friends and other members of the Malayali community in the UAE have added their blood group to their Facebook profile names following in the footsteps of Nithin, who had mentioned his blood group O positive to his profile name to promote blood donation.
Back in Nithin’s hometown Perambra in Kozhikode district of Kerala, several friends and relatives donated blood over the weekend.
Nithin’s father Ramachandran flagged off two buses that carried 52 donors to the Kozhikode Medical College.
The blood donation was organised by Emergency Team International, a volunteers’ group Nithin co-founded in 2018, during the Nipah outbreak in Kerala. The group has reportedly organised five such donation camps since his death.
App in memory of Nithin
Meanwhile, a state legislative member in Kerala has announced that a mobile app to facilitate blood donation across the state will be launched in memory of Nithin.
The announcement about an app was made by legislator Shafi Parambil.
Shafi was the one who gifted the repatriation ticket to Athira as a token of appreciation for moving the apex court with the help of supporters under the organisation Indian Cultural and Art Society (Incas) UAE.
In return, Nithin had sponsored tickets of another pregnant woman and a patient.
Speaking to Gulf News over the phone from Kerala, Shafi said he had already started discussions with the app developer after announcing the plan during a virtual condolence meet on Friday.
“It will help people to seek and donate blood from any corner of Kerala. We will make it mandatory for a certain quota of its members in each unit to sign up as donors.”
He said a state-wide blood donation campaign will also be held in memory of Nithin. “We will always be there to support Athira and Nithin’s family,” he added.