Chennai Red Knights (CRK) is the blood donation wing of Chennai Trekking Club. CRK has been actively involved in arranging donors for surgeries, emergency requests through volunteer donors and blood camps predominantly for Government hospitals in Chennai.

On an average, General Hospitals (GHs) in Chennai have a daily need of 250 units, however only 10-15% of the same is available in the blood banks of these hospitals. Hence, the poorest and the underprivileged getting treated in the GHs go through tight situations to arrange blood. Sometimes, situations may worsen to a stage wherein surgeries may get postponed or lives may be lost due to unavailability of blood. Hence, Chennai Red Knights (CRK), the blood donation wing of CTC was formed in Sep 2015 with a vision to raise awareness about blood donation among CTC community and engage them to donate regularly in GHs across Chennai.

The peak summer months of April, May and June are referred to as the dry months for blood donations across Chennai. In these months, the college students who form majority of the blood donor community are on vacations and leave to their hometowns. Hence arranging blood even for emergencies becomes a herculean task. The situation is extremely worse for small hospitals like Chrompet GH where even most critical surgeries like child deliveries take time due to deficit of blood. Imagine a lady suffering in labor pain for few hours due to delay in arrangements of blood for her operation. As blood requirements reach a peak in GHs during these summer months, CRK engages with corporates, NGOs, biking/running groups, etc. to arrange blood donation camps to refill the blood banks of these hospitals.

CRK team also arranged special blood camps post Dec 2015 Chennai floods to help the GHs cope up with the huge demand of blood after the rise in dengue and water borne diseases after the disaster. Due to increased need for platelets in Rajiv Gandhi GH, CRK also coordinated a daily platelet donation drive in 2016 in Rajiv Gandhi GH. Alongside disasters, annual CTC donation drives in May and Oct, platelets donations, CRK also arranges blood through donation camps or for emergency requirements throughout the year.

Alongside blood donations, one of the major aim of CRK has been generating awareness to the donors about the misuse of donated blood in various places. 90% of the voluntary blood donation units in India end up getting sold to hospitals despite being collected for a charitable cause, due to unregulated blood supplies in India. Hence, CRK has been involved in sensitizing donors to verify the genuinity and authenticity of the requests before proceeding to donate blood.

It is often noticed that a lot of women turning up for blood donation undergo rejections due to iron deficiency alongside few other reasons. Menstruation and childbirth are significant sources of blood loss for women. Women are prone to iron deficiency during their monthly period and it takes at least 10 days to regain back the iron levels. Through constant knowledge sharing of facts in this topic, CRK has been able to convert several rejected women donors to regular/emergency donors.

Every three minutes, a patient requires an organ transplant in India. Thousands of people die while waiting for an organ transplant and many others lose their lives before they even get on to the transplant list.CRK has been doing issuing Cadaver Organ donation registration forms in blood camps since May 2016 to generate awareness about organ donations. Alongside blood and organ donations, CRK started an initiative in 2015 to bring smiles in the faces of the children undergoing treatment in GHs. Since then, CRK has been facilitating nutrition supplement distribution through donor support and annual distribution of soft toys/eco-friendly games to keep the kids engaged and help them with a speedy recovery.

You don’t have to be a doctor to save lives. A few drops of your blood is all it takes to save a life. Sign up here to receive alerts from CRK on emergency blood requirements across Chennai. CRK has been actively promoting the ‘#Bloodgroupbehindourname’ initiative that involves storing the blood groups in your contact name for immediate identification of donors within your circles in case of any emergencies. Many hands make a light work. Support us in our campaign and refer your friends and relatives to donate blood. Let’s work together to make blood shortages, a thing of the past.