In 2017, Adamu Ali Umar joined the list of Nigeria’s blood donors when his sister, Aisha, who was battling sickle cell disease, urgently required blood, and their father wasn’t at home then.
Following the donation, his sister’s relief and the joy on her face, along with their mother’s happiness, left him feeling satisfied.
“The smiles on their faces brought me comfort and a willingness to donate more if I’m able to,” Umar recounted.
Umar isn’t alone. There is also 46-year-old Abubakar Sani from the Sabon Gari community in Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, who spent years donating blood for free to family and friends.
His first donation happened in 2006 when one of his relatives was sick and needed blood. That afternoon at Jinya Clinic, there wasn’t anyone from the family willing to donate, and since they couldn’t afford to buy the blood, Sani stepped in and offered it for free.
“I was motivated by how people struggle to access blood when they need it the most. That’s why I [took] it upon myself to donate willingly,” Sani told Prime Progress.
Since his first donation, Umar has selflessly donated blood to more than nine people, who have now experienced improved health and returned to their everyday lives.
“I hope they will be inspired to extend acts of kindness to others, not just through blood donation, but in various ways,” Umar told Prime Progress.
According to the National Blood Service Commission, Nigeria receives only 27% of its annual blood need from voluntary blood donors, leaving a shortfall of about 73.3% of blood need every year.
However, with nearly 200 million people in Nigeria, the country needs an estimated 1.8 million units of blood per annum.
People like Umar and Sani are among the voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors who account for only 10% of total blood collection in the country.
For Umar, life is fleeting, and he believes in enjoying the present moment while helping others within his means.
He said, “While we offer acts of kindness, we should expect our rewards from God alone.”
Umar’s sibling, Aisha, is a strong girl today. At 18, she’s preparing herself for the challenges ahead.
“I know what my brother did was a sacrifice not everyone can make. When I was in dire need of blood, he came to my rescue. What excites me is seeing him willingly donate his blood, even to strangers. It’s a huge sacrifice,” Aisha expressed to Prime Progress.
Husseini Ali, a beneficiary of Sani’s kindness, recalls the day Sani came to his rescue.
“I was in a critical condition, and I needed blood urgently. Someone closer to me informed Sani about my condition, and he came to the hospital and donated blood to me for free,” Ali recounted.
In July 2022, Helen Garba was sick and was in dire need of blood to survive, and Umar, who was present at the clinical ward of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, offered to help.
“I can’t forget that act of kindness bestowed upon me by Umar. He earned my respect that even as a student, he was so kind to donate for free. I usually invite him to my home for lunch during weekends,” Musa narrated.
At 27, Umar is a medical student about to take his final examination at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital. He aspires to continue donating his blood to save lives as long as he remains fit and eligible.
Through the years, Sani has built a legacy through blood donation.
“I believe in the power of giving, and it’s not about recognition or rewards. It’s about being there when someone needs help,” he shared. “It’s the little act of kindness that can make a big difference in our lives.”
Today, Sani is thriving as a trader in the Sabon Gari market, and he has a perception of life.
“Life is a precious gift, and we can make it meaningful, not with what we have, but with what we give. The richness of life lies in the hearts we touch and the lives we can save through our kindness,” he concluded.