Sant Anoop Sing Ji in plea for UK donors
The UK’s biggest Gurdwara, Sri Guru Singh Sabha, in Havelock Road in London’s Southall district, will host a two-day blood donation appeal on Saturday and Sunday June 13 and 14, with a massive attendance hoped for.
Organised in support of World Blood Donor Day on June 14, the event is being combined with Mahaan Gurmat Samagam and a visit from His Divine Holiness Sant Anoop Singh Ji at the end of his tour of the UK’s Sikh temples, which began on May 27.
Up to 5,000 worshippers are expected from all over the country and although it is not an occasion for collecting blood it is hoped that many of them will sign up to the national blood service donor scheme. The Mahaan Gurmat Samagam will run from 5pm to 9pm on Saturday and 10am to 3pm on Sunday.
His Divine Holiness Sant Anoop Singh Ji will be joined by the head of the Harmandar Sahib (Golden Temple), Akal Takhat Jethedar Singh Sahib Giani Gurbachan Singh Ji, to support a plea for the UK Sikh community to join the international blood donor movement, a joint appeal made by the World Health Organisation, the UK’s National Health Service and the Red Cross.
As the end of his tour His Divine Holiness will have spoken to more than 50,000 British Sikhs at different venues, a powerful finale to his world tour of 2009. His recent sermons have focused on the “Giving of blood to help mankind – regardless of caste, colour or creed.”
He was also involved in the massive blood donation day that was organised by the Sikh’s in India at Anandpur Sahib, the Sikh holy place.
The global theme for 2009 is to achieve 100 per cent non-remunerated donation of blood and blood components, placing a renewed emphasis on improving the safety and sufficiency of blood supply. Blood sold by the poor in many places around the world often carries infections.
There is growing appreciation of the vital role of regular donation by volunteers. Not only are they the safest donors, they are the foundation of sustainable blood supplies sufficient to meet the needs of all patients requiring blood and blood components.
Only 0.9% of the UK’s total blood donating population is of Asian Indian origin, according to the Sikh Times.
There are currently only 12,486 Asian Indian blood donors on the national register and the NHS must raise the percentage to 2.1% to service the needs of the UK hospital population of patients from black and minority ethnic communities.
Many Asian Indians across all religions have been reluctant to donate blood for various reasons, including misplaced fears of offending cultural sensibilities and that donating blood causes weakness.
Event organiser Reuben Singh said: “We are British and this is a cause for people of all races and religions living here in Britain.
“We are in constant need of blood in the UK and the current economic climate has obviously hindered people’s ability to support a number of charitable causes financially. Registering yourself as a blood donor and then giving blood is something that costs nothing but can help save lives and people in need.
“This event demonstrates total racial integration: when you are called to give blood you are doing it without the knowledge of whose life you are helping to save. No race, colour, or religion will matter when it comes to giving blood.”
World Blood Donor Day marks the birthday of Karl Landsteiner, the Nobel laureate who discovered the ABO blood group system.
Find out how to register as a UK blood donor at: www.blood.co.uk
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