As all of us continue to take measures against the coronavirus pandemic, these difficult times have been the moments where we have seen moments of hope and giving at a time when our daily lives have been upended with uncertainty with our daily lives shaped by the stay-at-home orders. Vancouver-based Sikh Nation has been breaking records with their biggest blood drive in Canada.
The New York Times reports that Canada has had 46,884 cases. As the hospitals all around the world are being overwhelmed as the COVID-19 cases continue to grow, organizations such as the Sikh Nation have stepped in to alleviate the stress that has taken place on Canada’s healthcare system.
In one of the largest blood drives earlier this month in April, Sikh Nation partnered with Canadian Blood Services to raise awareness of the need that the health care system in Canada has been facing due to the shortage of blood in this time of crisis.
Sikh Nation (Sikh Kom) which has been organizing blood drives since 1999, has roots in the 1984 genocide in India. Every November, the Sikh Nation honours the victims of the genocide remembering the thousands of Sikhs who were massacred in New Delhi and other parts of India. Their mission, according to the Sikh Nation’s official website, in order to honour the victims, has been to commemorate the victims by launching this life-saving campaign. The blood drive is emblematic of the goal to empower and stand up against atrocities and acts of violence against any group and individual. Thus far, they have saved over 140,000 lives and since their first clinics in lower mainland British Columbia, Sikh Nation blood drives has spanned across Canada and the world.
At a time, when the blood donations have dropped due to the regulated stay-in-home orders and the province, Sikh Nation was also recognized by the B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix commended the Sikh community for their altruistic contribution to Canada. In his press conference as noted by CBC, Dix noted, “People in the South Asian community of the Sikh faith, who every year launch one of the biggest blood drives in Canada, are launching a new blood drive, really at the call of Dr. Henry and many others across the country, and we’re so honoured and excited by that, it’s such an important thing to do and really heartening to see.”
Volunteers who have contributed to the campaign have called it a duty that has not been about recognition but awareness, which makes their campaign all the more commendable.
Jasjet Kaur says in an interview with Narcity that “our point is not really to hit like a numbers target. It really is just to save as many humans lives as possible. ” She also sees this effort having a long-term effect, “We need to view this as a marathon, not a sprint.”
Sukhdeep Singh, another volunteer who has been part of the organization since it was established said, “If you’re doing something year after year, and the health minister recognized it, to me it’s a good gesture … obviously, it feels great. It’s part of our duty to society. We’re enjoying all the privilege, and sometimes we ignore what we’re supposed to do to the neighbourhood, the community, the country as a whole.”
As this campaign continues to call its mission for the blood drive, it is important to know that there is still a need for blood donation in these trying times. Because of the strict physical distancing measures in place, the organization is encouraging the donors to schedule their own personal appointments to donate rather than organizing a mobile donation clinic. Moreover, it has also implemented strict cleaning measures and strong eligibility requirements to donate blood.
It is heartening to see these humanitarian efforts that are coming to light in these trying times.
To find where you can give blood please visit the schedules on www.sikhnation.net/blooddonation
Main Image Photo Credit: https://twitter.com/CanadasLifeline/status/800126608153649152