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Do you encourage your congregation to be blood donors ?

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Question: Do you encourage your congregation to be blood donors?

Kiran Kaur Bhinder's answer

Ottawa Citizen

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A: The Sikh philosophy and teachings place great emphasis on the importance of giving and putting others before oneself. One of the three cornerstones of the Sikh faith is to share with others. Assisting those less fortunate includes offering whatever resources or services possible: monetary, emotional, intellectual, spiritual or practical. Blood donations are an important example of how Sikhs perform practical and spiritual service. Many Gurdwaras (places of holy congregation), and Sikh Student Associations across Canada host or support annual blood donor drives for their congregation and community. Sikh communities have also made specific efforts during tragedies like the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York.

“The true servants of God are those who serve Him through helping others.†(Guru Nanak, Guru Granth Sahib)

Every minute of every day someone in Canada somewhere needs blood. Despite the ever increasing need for blood products and organs for transplant — only 31ž2 per cent of eligible Canadians donate, one of the worst records internationally. There remains a considerable shortage in supply of organs and blood products.

For many, donating blood is a practical means of bringing communities together in service, to help alleviate the pain and suffering of others. As a form of honoring those whose blood was shed, we can donate our own and save the lives of many who are still in desperate need.

Kiran Kaur Bhinder is a founding trustee of the Sikh National Archives.

© Ottawa Citizen 2006

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