Sunday , September 23 2018

Blood Ride – Biker hearts lend a beat in LOYAC annual donation drive

When a biker is willing to donate his blood he will be more careful about not spilling it on the asphalt in vain. — Jafar Behbehani

LOYAC’s 6th blood donation event, organised by TriStar Motorcycle Establishment and sponsored by Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait was held on March 10, with participation from various bikers clubs, and supported by the Boulevard Mall and the Central Blood Bank.

The blood ride began at LOYAC headquarters at Al Qibliya School, where bikers from the BMW Motorcycle Club, Ducati Club, and Motolady Club, were joined by members of several other active motorcycle clubs in Kuwait, before proceeding to the Boulevard in a striking convoy for the blood donation event.

Jafar Behbehani, proprietor of TriStar Motorcycles, shared that the event demonstrates the riders’ deep conviction to give back to society and has become a hallmark of humanitarian outreach undertaken by them annually. The community of bikers use this opportunity to not only reach out to those in need but also dispel negative stereotypes held by the public and promote values of safety. “When a biker is willing to donate his blood, he will be more careful about not spilling it on the asphalt in vain. This is one reason why we donate”, he remarked.

“Our safety on the roads as bikers is very critical and every biker  is responsible for his own safety even though we ride as a group. As a group today, our average speed was a comfortable 60 km/hr. Every rider has a helmet on and most of them wear other safety gear such as boots and jackets. We welcome only those who are committed to safety”, he continued.

He stressed that respecting the road and other drivers is crucial to protecting oneself while riding, “We urge bikers to do everything possible to protect themselves by respecting others on the road. We, likewise, also want the car drivers to be concerned and vigilant about the motorcycle riders as they are more vulnerable and susceptible to getting hurt. Today, we see young men and women, parents, and even grandparents like myself on motorcycles, so we have to be concerned about the individual on the bike, keeping in mind that one day the blood that he or she donates will save a life.”

Behbehani addressed the critical problem of traffic congestion in Kuwait, “Everyone in Kuwait complains about traffic and recently it has been outrageous. The primary cause for traffic congestion is that every person takes with himself five empty seats. There are cars on the road that do not have to be there.”

He shared that the long-term solution to this would be a robust public transportation system, “We have buses but they are not used by all strata of society, we don’t have subways yet, and most people don’t share cars.”

He highlighted that Kuwait’s social behaviour was also different from that of the world, “Normally, people use their cars twice a day elsewhere on the commute to work and home. But in Kuwait, we use our cars about eight times, to go to the co-operative, the cinema, weddings, funerals, all kinds of government errands.  This makes a million cars on the road become eight million cars.”

While normal rush hour traffic is understandable, congestion at other times is superfluous. He attributes this to the lack of a postal service and the slow adoption of online services that lead to company representatives being out on the road throughout the day. “It is time that the government adopts more electronic services to prevent the necessity to go out and be on the road.”

In the meantime, the motorcycle is a good solution to navigate through the congestion. It takes less parking space, allows the rider to park anywhere, zip through traffic and reach the destination very quickly. An added bonus is the economic savings with the cost of fuel going up.

Fetouh Al Dalali, Co-founder and Executive Board Member of LOYAC, speaking about  the blood donation event shared that it was important for two reasons. Firstly, it corrects the misconception of bike riders being the cause of mayhem and accidents on the roadways and sends the message that they are here to save lives. The second important message is targeted towards the youth, “We stress on voluntary community service and send our students to a lot of different places for this.  But I think blood donation is the pinnacle of voluntary work.”

She continued, “This event embodies LOYAC’s values of love and peace – we give our youth the chance to live out these values by loving others and spreading their peace.”

Fawzy Al Thunayan, ABK’s General Manager for Board Affairs, affirmed the bank’s commitment to supporting events that contribute positively to Kuwaiti society, “We are supporting this event for the third year in a row and we believe that this is a very important cause. Blood donation saves lives, so we thank the riders and donors for their participation in this event. We are very proud of them and very honoured to support them.”

Riders who wished to donate their blood at the event had to register with officials from the Central Blood Bank and undergo a screening process that included an examination of temperature, blood pressure, haemoglobin levels and other key markers. Once cleared, a donation of about 477 ml was taken within a short 5-7 minute time period. The bags collected were taken to the blood bank and tested before being supplied to patients in need.

The Central Blood Bank serves as the only central supplier of blood to all hospitals, government or private, in Kuwait. Continuous supply is needed to meet the needs of patients undergoing surgeries as well as those suffering from terminal diseases.  The process for making a donation at the blood bank is a relatively simple registration and assessment method. The blood bank is open all days of the week, Sunday to Thursday from 7 am to 9 pm, Fridays from 1 pm to 7 pm and Saturdays from 7 am to 7 pm.

 

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