Muscat: An Omani man who lost his brother in a car accident has devoted the last three decades to donating blood.
Ahmed Al Kharusi began donating blood April 16, 1986 when he was 22 years old. For the last 32 years, he has donated blood 137 times, providing the equivalent amount of blood of 12 adult males.
“This is such an important day for me, it marks 32 years of volunteering,” Al Kharusi said. “Donating to me means giving life. We are humans and we have to take care of each other,” he added. The 54-year-old has seen, first-hand, the impact of blood donations. In 1983 he was in a car accident that took his brother’s life and badly injured him.
“My blood type, B-positive, was not available in the Sultanate, and so it was only imported,” Al Kharusi said. For three years, Al Kharusi had to be treated outside Oman. “As soon as I returned I made it my goal to donate blood whenever I could,” he said.
“Not just donate, but to also encourage others to do the same, and to raise awareness regarding how important donating blood is,” he said. Despite his good intentions, Al Kharusi faced a backlash and criticism from his family and friends.
“I continued, even with all the criticism, and didn’t let it get to me. In fact, I even encouraged my wife, who donated 24 times, and my three daughters, who donated 13 times, collectively,” Al Kharusi added.
Overall, Al Kharusi said he has passed on his passion of giving to more than 5,000 people who donated blood. Donating blood in Oman has gained popularity over the past few years, thanks to the numerous campaigns by the Department of Blood donation at the Ministry of Health, among others.
“Over the last two years I have seen an increase in the number of people donating blood. This is because campaigners have begun going to audiences, to schools, companies, universities, and ministries. This never existed before, but thankfully this change is great,” said Al Kharusi.
Al Kharusi’s donations are not solely in the Sultanate, “I’ve donated 137 times, at home and in countries such as Kuwait and the UAE.”
Al Kharusi has devoted his life to volunteering, but his cause is not without struggles.
“ I retired from the Royal Guard 10 years ago, and since then I turned down job opportunities because I knew that I would not be able to continue donating and campaigning. I urge government and private institutions to help support my cause,” Al Kharusi said, adding, “I donate not for society, but for humanity.”