I, Utsav Solanki, am an advocate from Ahmedabad, Gujarat. I am currently working in a digital marketing company. I donate blood to cancer patients and spend time with them, whilst plastering smiles on their faces through my group called Mashkare Clowns.
I embarked on my journey of blood donation unknowingly. It began with a tiny wish of having a cup of tea for free and to do so, I talked to a friend of mine who connected me with someone who needed blood urgently. One thing led to another and soon I started researching more about cancer, right from its treatment to its side effects. I found out about platelets and the impact they carry. I came to understand the criteria surrounding the donation of platelets. Finally, I realized the importance of playing an integral role in saving someone’s life and taking out just two hours to save a child’s life. Gradually, some of my friends started joining me on this journey and I started spreading more awareness about blood donation. This led to more people getting connected and sharing resources.
I soon found out that one can donate blood 24 times a year. And thus, you get a chance to become a hero 24 times a year. I truly consider myself immensely lucky for getting this opportunity of saving someone’s life. One aspect I truly emphasize is the significance of keeping a check on your health, food being consumed, medicine intake, and habits, especially including those that are detrimental to one’s health, such as smoking, 48 hours before the donation. I believe donation is a ‘far, a duty and believe that every Indian should donate platelets. I feel it all boils down to humanity. It all started from a meager incident of getting tea for free, and eventually, God and the Universe guided me towards a cause that brought change.
I would not say that naysayers do not exist; they do and people still criticize. Some people find faults with what we’re doing, but one has to keep going forward. A matter of grave importance is to bust the myth that blood donation deteriorates one’s health. I have been donating blood for 6 years and am hale and hearty. My friends and I hold a party every 6 months wherein we tell the attendees before the party that they will have to donate blood if they are attending the party. This, in turn, makes those attending the party feel good about contributing to a wonderful cause. They also sometimes get them to meet the children suffering from cancer, making them realize the impact they left and they might have played a role in saving a young soul’s life. I feel extremely proud when I realize I cast an impact on someone’s life. I am also a believer in the idea that karma follows you- if you give, in times of need you will get help in return. There are people whom I know I can rely on in times of need and that I will be provided with help as and when required, in life. We are all born for some purpose, we must remember that and try to infuse some positivity in someone else’s life by helping them.
Cancer patients not only need blood, but they also need love, hugs, connection, and laughter in enormous amounts. Our clowning group, Mashkare Clowns, visit children’s cancer wards on weekends and try to bring smiles to children’s faces. We dress up as clowns, entertaining the children, making them laugh, and this, in turn, smothers a smile on their parents faces. Just those 1-2 hours that we spend with the children, entertaining them, recharges them for the entire week. We try to make the children suffering feel like they are heroes. It is highly imperative to do so. Never make them feel as if cancer is a big deal, make them feel like it is minuscule in front of them like they are the strongest humans on earth. I truly believe in the value of spreading happiness and comforting the parents too, who are suffering immensely.
We all need to help people genuinely without thinking constantly about what we will get in return. A selfless deed will put you in the good books of God. I always emphasize the value of doing something good whenever one gets a chance. There have been times wherein some of my group members and I shaved our heads so the children of the cancer ward would feel alike, they would feel normal about not having a head full of hair. The children then felt the same as us, had fun with us, laughed at us calling us bald, and simply found comfort in the fact that there was someone else like them.
An essential issue we need to talk about is the importance of turning up. People should be reliable and fulfill their commitment. Being accountable is extremely imperative as someone else is depending on you and is hanging their hopes on you. It is a matter of grave importance that people communicate, refuse beforehand if they can’t turn up or arrange for another donor. They must also refrain from donating blood if they have had substances, smoked, or indulged in any act detrimental to health, as in such scenarios, their blood donation can hamper someone else’s health. Gambling with someone’s health and life for the sake of just donating, money, or any other reason can pave the way for deteriorating the bigger picture.
Blood donation is not a very cumbersome task and can be done simply by visiting a government hospital or a private one and donating blood free of cost for cancer patients, as every hospital requires close to 200-300 bottles of blood. My definition of heaven is doing something for others, without any expectation of rewards in return. If God has blessed you with a healthy body, please try to be of use to someone who is struggling with an ailment.
Cancer does not come across as a humongous deal if one has the willpower. In turn, if we can donate blood, offer comforting words, undertake the medical expenditure right from bills to the medication or in any other form, we should all come together and help in whichever way we can. We must all come forward and just try to help someone and see how good that would make us feel. And always be careful of the fact, if you’re bringing tears to someone’s eyes, make sure they are tears shed out of happiness; refrain from causing pain to anyone