Hundreds of Sikhs came out to give blood at a Surrey school on Sunday. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

VIDEO: Giving blood to honour Sikh lives lost

Annual blood drive sees thousands come out to give blood across B.C.

Hundreds of people came out in Surrey to give blood on Sunday in what’s become an almost two decades-long tradition for the Sikh Nation.

“It was originally started as a movement against the 1984 Sikh genocide that occurred in India,” said Jastej Kaur, a Blood Donation by Sikh Nation volunteer, in between signing dozens of people up to give blood at Newton’s Ecole Gabrielle-Roy.”

“The Indian government massacred tens of thousands of Sikh people.”

Instead of resorting to violence, the Sikh community wanted to do something positive for their own community to push back against the hatred displayed against them.

“We are not here to hate. We are angry, we are sad but we’ve put all those emotions into such a powerful message,” said Kaur.

“We’re here to save lives in our community.”

The annual blood drive kicked off in 1999 and for almost 20 years, each November sees thousands of Sikhs come out to give blood, volunteer or just support the initiative.

“The response for us has been overwhelming. We’ve had droves of people come out and donate,” said Kaur. “We’ve saved over 120,000 lives in Canada alone.”

The organization chose blood donation both because it fit into the tenets of their faith and because Canadian Blood Services, who they partner with for the blood drive, is always short on blood.

“If you look around, someone will have needed blood at some point in their life,” said Kaur. “Each donation saves three lives.”

Matching blood types and antibodies can be difficult and often times people are more likely to find a perfect match from a donor from their own ancestral community.

According to Canadian Blood Services, although half of Canadians are eligible to donate blood, only one in 60 do so.

Sunday marked the second and final day of the organization’s annual Sikh blood drive in Surrey and Kaur said that hundreds of people had already donated by noon.

“Sikhs always come out because it’s such an emotional event for our people. We want to make sure that people don’t forget that this happened to us,” she said.

“Blood was taken from us and now we’re giving back that blood in a positive way.”

For more information on how to give blood, visit Canadian Blood Services.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Gurpreet Singh, a four-time donor, came out to a Surrey school to give blood on Sunday. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

Hundreds of Sikhs came out to a Surrey school on Sunday. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

Hundreds of Sikhs came out to a Surrey school on Sunday. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

Just Posted

International film series returns to Chilliwack this fall

The Chilliwack International Fall Film Series at Cottonwood 4 Cinemas runs Oct. 2 to Nov. 6

Grand opening of Molson Coors Fraser Valley Brewery at Chilliwack cause for celebration

Ribbon-cutting with dignitaries, Molson brass and family marked the official grand opening

Two more on witness stand accuse former Chilliwack youth leader of sexual touching

BC Supreme Court justice rules similar fact evidence allowed in trial of Codie Anderson

East Coast comedian Ron James bringing ‘Full Throttle Tour’ to Chilliwack Cultural Centre

James is at work on the first draft of his first book, ‘All Over the Map’

Multiple accidents on Highway 1 slowing morning commutes

One accident just past 232 Street in Langley, second is just East of Bradner Street in Abbotsford

VIDEO: Drone footage documents work to free salmon at Big Bar landslide

Video shows crews working to remove rocks and wood, and transporting salmon by helicopter

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Vancouver police could be using drones to fight crime by end of year

The police department has already purchased three drones, as well as three others for training

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

B.C. cabinet minister denies that Surrey mayor’s friend attended government meeting

Surrey councillor questions Vancouver businessman Bob Cheema’s involvement in official meeting

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Most Read