‘Any Death due to lack of Blood is a matter of Shame’

There are different kinds of bravery and this special athlete from Bombay has donated blood all over India. Here’s another kind of soldier.

Meet Mumbai’s athlete Prakash M. Nadar, 43, who is afflicted by polio but has donated blood 110 times. On Monday, National Voluntary Blood Donation Day, Nadar donated blood for the 110th time at  the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi, Jharkhand.

This Ranchi hospital was but one stop in Nadar’s mission: to donate blood in every state of the country. Wheelchair-bound Nadar said, “I want my blood to race across my country.” Making light of his “94 per cent disability”, the man from Mumbai said, “I say be positive and my blood group is B-positive.”

He said he won 121 national and 10 international medals in swimming, powerlifting and athletics.

But on Monday, he said he would rather focus on his life’s mission, blood donation. “I have donated blood in 17 states of the country. I aim to donate blood in every state of the country,” he said.

He added it was his ritual to donate blood once in three months or four times in a year. “I eat healthy,” he said when asked how he managed to donate blood so regularly. “I eat home-cooked food and fruits,” added the man who stays with his 70-year-old mother M. Balasundari, wife Satya, 40, daughter Varshini, 11, and son Hariharan, 13.

Nadar misses his father the most, he said. “My father, P. Murgan, who died 20 years ago, motivated me to take up blood donation. I was still a teenager when he asked me if I would donate blood to an HIV-positive person,” he said.

He was pleased when asked how the government could promote blood donation.

“First, the government should make blood donation compulsory for youths and camps should be organised at every college at least four times in a year. Second, blood banks should have a donor database and call up donors after every three months on the lines of insurance agents who call for renewal premiums. Third, there should be a dedicated information system to help people know the status of blood at any bank the same way there is system of daily weather updates. Fourth, a blood collection mechanism should be in place to reach homes and offices of donors. India has 600 million young people. Any death due to lack of blood is a matter of shame.”

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