Meet Rajendra Kulkarni, this Mumbai resident has been donating blood since 1985. A native of Rajasthan, he came to Mumbai in 1985 in search of a job. He became an employee for the State Bank of India, and recently retired in January.
The incident which prompted him to become a life-long blood donor is a heart-warming one. Rajendra Kulkarni shares his story saying, “When I came to Mumbai for the first time, to search for a job, one of my relatives fell very ill and was admitted to St. George Hospital. There was a blood shortage, so I was called in to donate blood.”
He added, “During my time at the hospital, I saw the plight of children affected with thalassemia. Their condition moved me and I decided to become a regular blood donor from that day onwards.”
Kulkarni further said, “Thalassemia is a genetic blood disorder, wherein the body makes an abnormal form of haemoglobin. The disorder results in excessive destruction of red blood cells, which leads to anaemia. Such children require a blood transfusion every 15 days, but blood isn’t easily available to such children due to a shortage of blood.”
He concluded saying, “Many people say that blood donation is the gift of life. But, they don’t come forward to donate blood. There is a major disparity between the proportions of people who need blood vs. the people who donate blood. Youngsters should be encouraged to come forward and donate blood as this may help change the mind-set of people. I will be donating blood for the 98th time in September and December will mark my 100th donation.”
Speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Madhukar Gaikwad, Medical Superintendent, St George’s Hospital, said, “Our hospital has around 100 children who are affected with thalassemia who visit the hospital every 15 days for blood transfusion. The kids who come here are not only from Mumbai but also places such as far as Ratnagiri and Surat.
He added, “Mr Rajendra Kularni comes to the hospital once every three months to donate blood for these children. He has set a good example to others. The hospital is planning to felicitate him once he reaches his milestone of 100 blood donations.”