Have you struggled to get blood in the past? Meet Abbas, popularly known as ‘blood Abbas’ from Coimbatore who has supplied about 1.5 lakh units of blood in different districts in Tamil Nadu in the last 16 years.
Abbas, a flower seller, begins his day selling flowers at the Coimbatore flower market till he gets a call from a patient or an attender of a hospital who tells him about the need for blood.
For Abbas, it has been a struggle to find blood with compatible blood groups but he never gives up. “It is very difficult to find people with negative blood groups but I get it somehow,” he says.
How does he provide blood? “I know people in different districts, I have saved their numbers with their blood groups, so I ask them to go and give their blood to those patients,” he replies.
Earlier Abbas used to visit the patients also but later he stopped. “It upsets me to see that the person I tried to get blood for has died. So now, I prefer to know if they are doing well or not. If I could save their life, I feel very happy,” he says.
Narrating past instances, he recalls, “Once a one-year-old baby required A negative blood, I got the blood but she died. Such things make me sad.”
But life is not always so depressing. Abbas has been providing blood to different hospitals in Coimbatore, Mettupalayam, Madurai and Chennai. His patients include people with cancer, Thalassemia and many more diseases. A child with Thalassemia has been receiving AB positive blood for the last seven years, thanks to Abbas. He says that the families bless him for helping them with their requirement.
Abbas began providing blood in 2000. He had gone to meet his uncle in the hospital when he saw a seven-year-old-child, bleeding from an injury on his stomach. “The boy’s family pleaded to me to give my blood and I did. That day I realized there are so many people who are in need of blood, so why not help them out?” he says.
Asked about the expenses involved in pursuing this noble cause, Abbas says that the only cost is the amount spent in making calls to people. He has been awarded many times for his work. In 2014, he was given the Governor’s Award.
Abbas donates his blood every three months and has done it 25 times now. He’s had to stop recently because of his sinus problem.
How difficult is it to make people donate blood? “It is difficult to get the same people to donate repeatedly, some people become unwell…people who have jaundice cannot donate blood for one year. But I find someone every time there is a need for blood and that’s what makes me happy,” he smiles.