Sikh Nation’s Blood Drive, Largest of its Kind in Canada, Underway in Surrey | The Canadian News

Canada’s largest grassroots blood drive is getting underway, and donors rolled up their sleeves on Saturday where the drive began more than 20 years ago: Surrey, BC

Canadian Blood Services estimates that the Sikh Nation campaign has saved more than 160,000 lives and has spread to 27 communities across the country since it began in 1999. Many others around the world have benefited from the globalization of the movement.

The event was originally started to commemorate the tragic loss of thousands of lives in the anti-Sikh riots in India in 1984.

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“We all feel it is very, very important as it is the commemoration of such a tragic event,” volunteer Sukhdeep Singh told Global News.

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“(It’s about) getting people out of sadness and doing something positive and hoping for peace, and not just hope, I think, but action. Do something for humanity, save lives and protect others ”.

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In a normal year, events like Saturday’s at Princess Margaret Secondary would see a lineup of hundreds of people preparing to donate blood.

This year, organizers are expecting a large number of donors, but have switched to a dating-based model to maintain physical distancing and safety from COVID-19.

David Patterson, director of donor relations and collections for Canadian Blood Services for British Columbia and Yukon, said the need for blood donors is growing.

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“Every minute of every day in Canada someone needs blood. So the work that this tireless group of volunteers does every year is incredible, ”he said.

Patterson said the organization needs to add 100,000 new blood donors each year just to compensate former donors who die, develop medical conditions or stop donating for other personal reasons.

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Earlier this week, the Sikh nation was hailed in the British Columbia legislature when the province proclaimed November as the month of the Sikh Nation’s blood donation.

While the organizers are proud of the way the event has grown, Singh said that community service should not be seen as something special.

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“It is part of our responsibility,” he said. “It is about being in such a beautiful country where we have all the privileges and all the things that we enjoy, we have a responsibility towards our community, our society and humanity in general.”

The Sikh Nation campaign is open to people of all faiths and backgrounds, as long as they are eligible to donate blood.

You can learn more about how to participate in the Sikh Nation website.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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