There is a popular proverb “रक्तदानमहादान” or “donate blood, save a life”. Dhirendra Thakur has absorbed its true essence in his life. The compassionate soul is donating and arranging blood for countless patients inexorably withstanding all obstacles. His prime objective in life is to help the poor and helpless patients. Such patients often struggle hard to find blood for treatment. To help them, he also created a single platform of donors so that the patients would get help in time. His work attained respect and fame among numerous hospitals and health workers.
Dhirendra, the only son of priest Brijmohan Thakur, who lives near Hi-Tech hospital in Bhubaneswar, had the proclivity for public aid since childhood. His journey as a blood donor started in 2009 when he came in close contact with his mentor Dr. Debasish Mishra (Director of Red Cross Blood Bank). Dr Mishra convinced him about the importance of blood donation, blood scarcity in India and its necessity in critical conditions. It propelled him to donate blood to a patient for the first time who was suffering from aplastic Anemia in Capital hospital, Bhubaneswar. Plus, Dhirendra also convinced some of his friends to donate. As the patient was suffering from low hemoglobin levels.
“I became a regular donor and began motivating my friends and relatives to join me. Initially, I used to donate blood on occasions. But every time, the donation activities touched my soul. Gradually by improving our contacts and collecting data, we are now having a large family of active donors.”
The public-spirited social activist, since then, devoted his life to the care of those suffering from ailments like Thalassemia, anaemia, cancer, accidents and other serious diseases; who requires blood daily. Being aware of the struggle to arrange blood in times of crisis, he always made sure to include the donors with rare blood groups like A (-ve), AB (-ve), O (-ve) and B (-ve). He founded a Blood Donation unit- Lifeline Charitable Trust. With the support of his friends Ankit Jain, AnupamaDigal and Roshan Kumar Saha, he met the dearth of active blood donors and increased demand for blood.
For Dhirendra, it wasn’t easy convincing everyone to donate blood even after the group formation. But keeping the bold idea of saving lives he managed to bring together huge group of voluntary blood donors into a single platform by consistent effort and planning. Presently the Trust consists of around 15 active volunteers who work round-the-clock, amplifying requests for blood through social media, especially Whatsapp. In the last 13 years, Dhirendra and his team have successfully established a dynamic network of 15,000 blood donors across Odisha and in other states as well. The Trust also attracted the support of some Government officers who provide a multitude of help personally.
Indeed, the process of blood donation and arrangement by his professional team is entirely systematic and spontaneous. Soon after receiving any call for blood, they record the information related to the patients and donors. Afterwards, the team circulates the details of blood requisite with the volunteers on social media platforms or through calls. They arrange transportation facilities for the donor wherein needed. Further, they also take care of the helpless patients in availing food, beds in the hospital, treatment, transportation facility and the future blood requirements until their recovery.
“It was midnight when I learned about a patient with blood group B (-ve) who has suffered a sudden heart stroke. I called Ankit as he has the same blood group. Due to the unavailability of transport at midnight, Ankit struggled to reach the hospital. Finally, he could donate blood with the aid of a Government officer and save a patient’s life.”
There are numerous cases when Dhirendra helped the patients irrespective of time and work. Especially, the surging infection during the Pandemic pushed the health care system to the very brink. Among the many services, blood transfusion was also impacted by COVID 19.
“The pandemic had instilled a fear of hospitals in people because of which volunteers and other potential donors prefer not to go for blood donation. Resulted, Blood banks were running dry due to a lack of collection and donation activities. It had caused interruptions in the care of patients who required blood daily. Amidst the criticality, we worked day and night to distinguish the potential donors for reducing the burden of people in desperate need of blood. We were trying our best to educate people and assure them that no infection or deterioration of health would occur due to it. At max, we could only motivate and encourage volunteers but cannot force them to donate.”
Dhirendra got felicitated for his philanthropic work on several occasions. He earned a familiar name in different health institutions across the State. His fame is such that doctors themselves rely upon and call him directly whenever they require blood. Every day around 8-10 patients get the help of his team. In addition to subduing the scarcity of blood, he also organizes periodic blood donation camps in collaboration with a few Government officials through Mission Raktadaan. Further, he also arranged food for stray dogs and cattle with the aid of some neighbours during the lockdown period.
The donation of blood at the right time by an individual not only saves the life of a victim but also a boon for the victim’s family. As there is no substitute for blood, the only source is generous donors. Dhirendra’s swift action for the person in distress is remarkable. He is hopeful for a day when Blood banks would work like ATM services in the country and ensure zero death out of blood scarcity. It hinges on the conscience “how much we are willing to defy our fear of infection and go out to donate blood?” But, it’s a call for “We all are born with the ability to change someone’s life”.
Dial +91 9692300009 to contact Lifeline Charitable Trust for any blood requirement.