It is only in Ahmedabad that events like weddings and birthdays and even death anniversaries are often marked by blood donation. At a wedding, it’s out of happiness, at a funeral, it’s to pay homage to the departed soul. As many as 1,58,000 blood donations are made in Ahmedabad each year, meaning one donation every three minutes!
For years, Ahmedabad has shown how big its heart is. At 3.5 per cent it has the highest blood donor to population ratio in India. Globally, this ratio comes behind averages of only four countries — US, Switzerland, Japan and Germany.
Since 2009, this philanthropic heart has a mascot — Sherdil — that will help carry forward the city’s spirit of giving.“The lion not only symbolises Gujarati pride but also Amdavadi philanthropy. When we talk of a generous person, we call him lion-hearted. From this thought emerged Sherdil. And, he comes with an appeal: Yeh Sherdil maange more,” says Mukesh Patel, president of Ahmedabad Red Cross Society and a centurion blood donor himself. A centurion blood donor is a person who has donated blood more than 100 times.
The city has a centurion blood donors’ club, a women’s blood donors’ club and one by physically disabled. It also has a record number of 58 centurion blood donors.
Ahmedabad Red Cross Society (ACRS), on `World Blood Donors` day June 14, acknowledged the feat of centurion blood donors from the state. The state government awarded around 125 blood donors with the ‘Sherdil Gujarat’ award.
Not only the 700 thalassemia patients who regularly visit the ARCS for blood transfusion owe their lives to the donors, but the hundreds of people who need blood during an emergency are also thankful to the spirit of the people of Gujarat.
Hope there is soon a time when this spirit spreads to all other states and we get to hear about Sherdil Indians!