Mumbai, August 17, 2020.
Mumbai Ultra in association with Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) conducted a massive blood collection drive on August 15 at Shivaji Park in Mumbai to ensure the blood banks in the hospital maintain necessary stock and the patients get the necessary units during their treatment in the hospital.
Mumbai Ultra Marathon partnered with TMC for this unique drive where the motto is “If we cannot, let our blood run”. Each year, the runners organize a marathon on 15th August and dedicate it to the treatment of children with cancer in TMC. This year, due to the prevailing restrictions Mumbai Ultra Runners organized the Blood Donation Camp on 15th August at Veer Sawarkar Bhavan, Dadar, Mumbai. Tata Memorial Centre is the largest tertiary cancer institute in the country and each year more than 70,000 new cancer patients come to TMC for diagnosis, treatment, and advice. Mumbai Ultra in association with Tata Memorial Centrealso extended their gratitude toSwatantra Veer Savarkar Smarak Trustees Mr. Ranjit Savarkar for giving the venue for the noble cause.
Mr. Milind Soman, Event Ambassador said, “I visited the ‘Ground Zero’ for ‘Operation Blood Flood’ – the blood donation camp organised by the Mumbai Ultra Team and Tata Memorial Centre. This was the first time I donated blood in my life and I thank the team for the opportunity. There have been a lot of myths about blood donation but it is actually very healthy and you can help someone who is in need. You can donate blood every three months if you are healthy. So you need to make that choice today.”
One of the most important components of cancer care is a continuous source of Blood and Blood products, which can neither be manufactured in factories nor created in laboratories, and can only come from healthy volunteer donors. While the lockdown has applied brakes on activities across the world, unfortunately, the treatment of cancer has to continue sans interruption. Due to the pandemic, the organisers and the hospital staff are taking extreme care and installing strict hygienic measures to encourage good Samaritans to do their bit for a noble cause.
Utmost care and precaution, including but not limited to, avoiding crowding, maintaining social distancing, planning appointment to space out donations throughout the day, adequate sanitizations, enforcement of protective gear, etc., would be in place.
Prof. Sunil Rajadhyaksha, Head, Department of Transfusion Medicine, TMC, said, “We are very pleased with the response and thank all the citizens of Mumbai. Their contributions will help scores of patients who are in need of blood. Blood stocks started depleting soon after the commencement of lockdown. Donors had misplaced fears about contracting COVID infection if they were to visit the hospital blood bank for donation. Mumbai Blood banks have very low inventory. Residential complexes should come forward and organise camps in their societies as utmost care is taken for the safety of donors. The campsite is sanitized and social distancing is ensured.”
Dr. C.S. Pramesh Director, Tata Memorial Centre, “Cancer is curable but only if treated optimally, and every treatment modality of cancer requires extensive supportive care, most important being blood and blood products. Since early March 2020, as the pandemic situation was emerging, we – at TMH, consciously decided to continue treatment of cancer along with COVID, because neglecting cancer treatment could have disastrous long-term implications. Due to the lockdown and perhaps more due to the fear in the minds of society, we saw a drastic fall in the number of voluntary donors coming for blood donations. There came a time when TMH staff was the only sustainable source of donors left. This is a great initiative by Mumbai Ultra for having launched this movement for blood and platelet donation and help us in this extreme crisis.”
Dr. Girish Chinnaswammy, Professor and Head, Pediatric Oncology, TMC, said, “More than 80 percent of patients coming to TMH hail from outside the city and state. They depend on us – you and me and the society, to help them in their time of dire need. Travel restrictions due to COVID have given rise to an unprecedented shortage of blood for our patients. This camp will help us to continue serving our patients. Less than one percent of the eligible population in India today donate blood. If through the spread of awareness and increasing societal participation, through such camps, this number can be increased to just two percent, the entire country’s problem will be solved. The difference between one and two may seem small but that is all we seek.”