Gabbarudin has contributed his bit to society by donating blood regularly since he was 18. The proud 160-time blood donor was diagnosed with throat cancer last week.
Being able to barely make both ends meet, Gabbru, what residents of his Kabirpur village in Sonepat district call him fondly, needs money for treatment.
“I have donated blood more than 200 times, yet the government agencies do not recognise the donations on paper if it is more than 160 times voluntarily,” Gabbru said.
About his source of income, he said: “I own a bullock-cart and rent it out to earn a living.”
Recalling the olden days, he said: “I started donating blood in 1965 after the-then prime minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, appealed to masses on All-India Radio to join the cause during the 1965 war with Pakistan. I ran a bakery then, but had to close it down after loss.”
Originally from Muzaafarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh, Gabbru reached this part of the country while taking part in blood donation camps. “Never in my life did I accept money or freebies for my participation in blood donation camps, even after the offer of assistance from politicians,” said Gabbru, who believes: “Duniya mein ayein hain to kuch dekar jana chahiye (Since we are born, we must contribute).”
The lone Muslim of his village won praise when he donated his kidney to an agriculture scientist from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University, Uttar Pradesh, who wasn't a relative. That was in December 2009.
On the question of financial assistance, he said he did not fear death, but needed money, as treatment of cancer was expensive for anyone of limited income.
“After my throat started aching, I visited Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) Hospital in New Delhi a week ago and doctors told me that I had throat cancer,” he said.
Coincidentally, Gabbru had donated blood for the first time at LNJP hospital only, which was Irwin hospital at that time.
Gabbru was honoured by union health minister Gulam Nabi Azad, former Haryana governors Babu Parmanand and AR Kidwai, and chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda for his contribution to society. He had also been honoured by various social organisations more than 40 times.
About blood donation, he said: “No machine in this world can produce blood. Since we can, we should donate it to save lives.” Admitted to LNJP Hospital, he has appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda for financial assistance.