Hundreds of people, mostly youngsters, turned up on Sunday at the Expo Center Karachi to donate blood for children suffering from thalassaemia and other blood disorders. Another attraction at the blood donation event was the presence of Turkish actor Celal Al who played Abdur Rehman in the famed Turkish television play Dirilis: Ertugrul.
Both men and women from different walks of life donated blood at the mega camp organised by the Omair-Sana Foundation (OSF), an organisation that works for treatment of children suffering from thalassaemia, to get as many bags of blood as possible before the holy month of Ramazan.
Turkish star Celal (pronounced Jalal) Al also donated blood for thalassaemic children, second time in the last few months, and vowed to continue blood donations and work for the cause of children in the grip of blood disorders.
“Today I’m donating my blood second time for the Pakistani children suffering from thalassaemia. This will not only strengthen the bond between Turkey and Pakistan but also encourage others to donate blood for those who need blood donations for living normal lives,” he said, inaugurating the blood donation camp.
Accompanied by Turkish Consul General in Karachi Tolga Uçak as well as Omair-Sana Foundation Chairman Dr Kashif Ansari and Dr Saqib Ansari, the Turkish star said blood donation was the least he could for the children in Pakistan as their forefathers had also made sacrifices for the people of Turkey several decades back.
He also recited verses from the Holy Quran and shouted "Jeevay Jeevay Pakistan" and "Pakistan-Turkey Friendship Zindabad" and promised to visit the country if he was invited again.
He said Pakistan was like his second home where he was more popular compared to Turkey. The Turkish actor was invited by the Omair-Sana Foundation to promote blood donation and the strategy worked as a large number of people visited the camp and donated blood. Parents brought their teenage and elder children to donate blood and a large number of female students also turned up.
Dr Kashif, who is a United States-based oncologist, said they started the journey for the elimination of thalassaemia and promotion of voluntary blood donations some 20 years back and involved Pakistani artistes, cricketers and doctors so that parents of children in need of regular blood transfusions, could easily get blood to keep their children healthy.
He thanked the Turkish star for donating blood and encouraging the youth in Pakistan to do so. Dr Saqib, a paediatric hematologist and Omair-Sana Foundation general secretary, said he was delighted that Celal Al was in Karachi and donating blood to promote this practice in Pakistan.