Meet man who has donated blood on six continents

Arjun Mainali donates blood at Rwanda Biomedical Centre in Kigali on Wednesday. Viviane Irabizi.

Arjun Mainali, a Nepalese-born American citizen has donated blood at least 171 times in a 30-year journey that has taken him to six continents.

The 51-year old, who has so far given an estimated 85,000 milliliters of blood, arrived in Rwanda around the time the country joined the global community to celebrate World Blood Donor Day, marked on Friday.

Mainali started donating blood in 1987 at the age of 19, and since then, he is believed to have saved up to 513 lives.

On Wednesday evening, at Rwanda Biomedical Centre in Kigali, Mainali donated blood in Rwanda, making it his 17th country where has donated blood, and the 4th in Africa after Uganda, Malawi, and Ethiopia.

“Many times, I heard that people lost their precious life due to not getting blood on time. I could not tolerate that painful situation. So, I decided to donate blood,”  he said.

In an interview with Saturday Times, he said that he used his own money to purchase an air ticket to come to Rwanda for the humanitarian act, and has funded his trips to other countries where he has been.

Mainali said he donates blood four times a year, however, in 2014; he donated six times, giving 9.5 liters of whole blood.

In the same year, he also donated platelets 13 times.

He said he has a goal to “unite the strength of blood donors from around the world to help maintain the current level of blood donation participants in developed countries, and encourage blood donors to increase blood donation in developing countries.”

He said his inspiration to start donating blood was sparked when he read a story titled ‘The Blood Donor’ while he was in college.

“I was influenced by that story to donate blood,” he says.

“Through the years, I have seen, so many times, relatives fearing to donate blood to save a loved one, thinking that donating blood makes one’s body weaker,” he said.

In a discussion he held on Thursday with a group of youths in Kigali, he urged them to have a heart to donate blood for he who provides blood provides life.

To be able to give this life, Mainali urged the youth to shun bad vices like abusing drugs, saying that this not only harms the life of the prospective donor, but also contaminates their blood and it cannot be donated.

“My aim is to inspire more and more people to donate blood. So, I tried to motivate as many people as I could.”

He said a male has 76 milliliters per kilogramme and female has 66 milliliters, yet the body needs 50 milliliters of blood per kilogramme to survive daily.

About Blood Donor Day

On June 14 every year, the world marks the World Blood Donor Day, an event that serves to thank voluntary blood donors for their life-saving gesture.

It also serves to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure that all individuals and communities have access to affordable and timely supplies of safe and quality-assured blood and blood products, as an integral part of universal health coverage and a key component of effective health systems.