In the Muslim faith, Ramadan is a month of fasting, worship and contemplation — a time not only to pursue spirituality, but to perform charity and service.
A local Muslim community recently took that duty to heart, organizing a blood drive at City of Hope’s Blood Donor Apheresis Center in Duarte, Calif.
About two dozen members of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims of the United States traveled to the blood-donation center on Oct. 13 as part of Eid ul-Fitr, a three-day festival marking the end of Ramadan. Several Ismailis drove to City of Hope from Orange County, West Los Angeles, the South Bay and other areas to participate.
“It’s important for us to give as part of this month,” explained Shabnam Moledina, R.N., B.S.N., a nurse coordinator in the Division of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation who helped organize the event. Moledina, a native of Tanzania who has worked throughout City of Hope for 14 years, has been active in the local Ismaili community since moving to the United States in 1986.
“I love City of Hope, and I love our patients — they’re like my family — so it’s so crucial for us to be able to help them in this way,” Moledina added.
The idea for the drive originated with an Ismaili youth group called Youth Engaged in Service. “Since it’s Eid, we thought it would be great to link with City of Hope,” said Imran Ali, of Culver City. Ali and other friends in the group volunteer regularly to help at events such as the Special Olympics and in convalescent homes — and they hope to make blood donation an ongoing commitment, as well.
“This drive helped us build relationships to support our blood and platelet programs. Every donation gets us closer to meeting our patients’ growing need for blood products,” said Kasie Uyeno, marketing and recruitment coordinator at the Blood Donor Apheresis Center. She noted that the Ismailis donated 15 pints of whole blood during their visit.
The medical center transfuses more than 2,500 units of blood and blood products to patients each month, and it depends on donations from staff and community members. Added Uyeno: “All of the blood donated here stays here to benefit our patients.”
For more information about donation, visit www.cityofhope.org/BloodDonorCenter.