National and international Rotaract clubs, along with Rotary clubs, collected 28,556 units of blood from 412 camps and entered the India Book of Records for the most number of blood donation camps in a week and most number of countries participating in a blood donation camp. The idea was to “raise awareness on blood donation and collect blood for people who would otherwise die due to the lack of it,” says Sahil Bhateja, Project Head, Mahadan.
With World Rotaract Week approaching during his term (2013–15) as DRR of D 3090, Bhateja had to choose between planting saplings or organising a blood donation camp. He chose the latter. “I remember reading an article about the death of a man because of shortage of blood, and thought why not get the entire Rotaract community to host a blood donation week.” He discussed his thoughts with PDG Vijay Gupta of D 3090, “who guided me throughout the event.”
After finalising the dates and venues, local blood banks were contacted and everything seemed to flow smoothly. “Rotaractors and the incoming DRR team were positive about this initiative and RI Director Manoj Desai too encouraged our efforts,” he says.
In its first edition Mahadan collected 19,364 units of blood from 250 camps across India. “The incoming DRRs were all set for a second edition. They, along with the DGs and other Rotarians, helped in conducting 50 per cent more camps during Mahadan 2.0.”
During the course of the event issues such as shortage of resources, manpower, inaccurate reporting and time schedules did crop up, but Bateja learnt from his mentor PDG Gupta to “take everything positively.”
In 2017 the blood donation camps were extended to 18 foreign countries and 47 RI Districts outside India collected 2,520 units of blood from 40 camps adding to the 23,524 units of blood collected in India from 325 camps and 2,512 units from the general public across 47 camps.
“Since the blood donation policies were different in other nations, we had to ensure everything fell in place before the Rotaract Week. Many Rotarians helped us with the process.” Bhateja is particularly happy that the cause was appreciated by PRIP Rajendra Saboo as a “remarkable work” and is all set for Mahadan 3.0.