by Mahindra Bisram
The call for action came and Surya Narayan Seva Outreach Sang answered. On 9/4/11 SN SOS held a blood drive in conjunction with the Hindu Temples’ National Blood Donation Campaign to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and it was a tremendous success.
The statistics are grim. According to the American Red Cross about 5 Million Americans will need blood transfusion each year; every two seconds someone in the U.S needs blood; a single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.
Blood cannot be manufactured. It can only come from generous donors. Giving blood is giving life and is one of the greatest forms of Seva. This blood drive took tremendous planning and coordination and many were instrumental to its success. Dr. Anand Hardowar and Dr. Sanjay Ramkissoon, members of SN SOS spent time educating the devotees of Surya Mandir on the importance of giving blood and eligibility criteria during Sunday services. They also answered questions, address concerns and fears of potential donors. Bhai Patanjali Rambrich, a Hindu advocate visited several Mandir’s in the Queens area alerting them to the blood drive and to encourage their participation in this Maha Seva event.
The actual drawing of the blood was conducted by The New York Blood Center. The drive was scheduled from 10:30 to 2:30 PM and in the Blood Center preliminary analysis based on the space at Mandir, time allotted, and Blood Center personnel assigned to this event, they projected an EPD (Estimated Pints of Donation) of 25 Pints of blood. The Blood Center arrived promptly at 8 AM and started to setup their equipment which consisted of medical supplies, tables, stretchers, snacks, etc. At 10 AM the onsite registration process started followed by an initial screening to determine the eligibility of the potential donors. During the registration process a special treat (Sweet rice) was made available to the donors
SN SOS President Dr. Etwaru & SN SOS Director Amar Persaud donating while Dr. Anand Hardowar a attending physician at Long Island Jewish and Secretary of SN SOS observing and ready to assist if there are any complications.
Giving blood was a tense moment for many first time donors who had to overcome their fear of needles and giving blood in general. This fear was overcome due to the professional and friendly manner of both the Blood Center personnel and members of SN SOS and Surya Mandir that assisted in the Blood Drive. The fact that we had 3 medical doctors (Dr. Anand Hardowar, Dr. Dhanyanand Etwaru, Dr. Sanjay Ramkisoon) from Surya Narayan Seva outreach Sang present during the drive definitely allayed any fears that people had.
Donor being escorted to the snack/recovery table
After giving blood the donors were directed to a recovery area where snacks (Pretzels, cookies, etc) and drinks (Water, Juice, etc) were available. The donors were encouraged to drink fluids and eat a salty snack to help in the recovery process and to make sure they were well enough to leave. Donors were given a T-Shirt by SN SOS and a 10th Anniversary commemorative pin by the Blood Center as a token of their appreciation.
Donating was a very pleasant experience for Sarika Persaud.
In all about 53 donors varying from age 16 to 70 and from various ethnicity and religion signed up and went through the blood donation process. Due to various restrictions and conditions such as visiting another country, being anemic, having high blood pressure, etc, many were ruled ineligible as donors.
By the end of the donation period which had to be extended until 4PM to accommodate all donors, 34 pints of blood was drawn (36% greater than the estimate) and has the potential of saving 99 lives. Speaking with the Blood drive personnel to get feedback on our first blood drive, I was told that the drive was ‘Perfect’. This was based on the space, personnel and the number of donors that showed up. I was told that if more people had shown up they would not have been able to accommodate them and that this Blood Drive could not have gone any better.
SN SOS would like to thank all the donors who participated in this Blood Drive and all those who helped to make it a success. If you would like to volunteer your services or make a donation to help further the goals of SN SOS, please contact us at 718 878 5680 or e-mail at