All is not lost in Delhi. Recently, an urgent appeal to donors for a rare blood group over an FM radio channel evoked a massive response
Varun Awasthi is a regular FM radio listener. While driving to office or on way back, radio is a must for him. But one evening last week, radio gave this 24-year-old Gurgaon-based engineering executive a chance that he has been waiting for.
“There was an appeal for rare AB negative blood on Radio Mirchi. I immediately stopped the car by the roadside and called up the mobile number aired with the appeal,” recalls Varun. The very next day, he rushed from Gurgaon to the Delhi hospital and donated blood.
Varun calls it “a heaven-sent opportunity”. He had donated blood once earlier also. While keen to save lives, restrictions linked to AB — referred to as the universal acceptor group, as a donor had left him disheartened. “Actually while driving that day my friend and I were discussing my rare blood group. To my utter delight, just then the appeal was aired over the radio. I am so happy that my blood could be used to save another life,” says young Varun.
Last time, he had donated for a two-year-old, suffering from thalassemia. This time, it was an overwhelming experience for the patient also — a retired lady bureaucrat. She was due for a heart surgery and the hospital had asked for four units of blood, including two of the patient’s rare AB negative group. Till two days before the surgery, no donor was in sight. Just when all resources were falling apart, an appeal on the radio came as a boon. It reinforced her confidence on radio, a medium she served for over three decades.
The appeal on FM radio worked like magic! Within minutes, donors began calling on the number aired. There were several who did not belong to the AB negative group, yet insisted on donating “just to save a life”, the patient’s friend, who was coordinating, said.
But the case of Pankaj Wadhwa, a listed AB negative volunteer donor at the hospital where the patient was admitted, was an eye-opener, too. He was all set to donate when the blood bank at the hospital realised that he had already donated a unit less than two months ago, and was turned back. A Delhi-based professional architect, Mr. Wadhwa, who has just turned 47, feels disappointed. “I told them to take an undertaking from me that I will donate in June when the stipulated period is over but they didn’t listen to me.”
A volunteer donor at Escorts, Apollo, Max and some other hospitals, Mr. Wadhwa began donating blood during his college days in Chandigarh. “Our college was right behind the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research where I first donated. After that I have organised several blood donation camps also.”
Varun and Mr. Wadhwa’s prompt response negates the general assumption that people are averse to donating blood. “Actually we don’t seem to educate young people enough to donate blood,” says Varun.
Last but not least, the role played by FM radio is unquestionable in this feat. The overwhelming positive response to appeal on radio reflects the need to take radio more seriously rather than keeping them restricted to being non-stop chatter-boxes.