Blood donating is not a popular topic, yet one of the most significant acts in life.
During the world Blood Donor Day on June 14, 2023, Kennedy Alpha Sanya made his 102nd appearance, maintaining his position as Kenya’s highest doner.
He has been donating blood in the past three decades consistently, with his greatest motivation being saving lives.
Sanya, a Kenya Police Service Public Prosecutor in Nakuru County, has also been on the forefront towards advocating for blood donation through campaigns.
His journey dates back three decades ago while he was still in secondary school.
“I started blood donating journey while a student at Pumwani High School after a friend hinted that blood donors would be gifted with a soda after the exercise,” he recalled.
Sanya loved soda so much and couldn’t imagine missing the opportunity to quench his thirst by giving blood in return.
This was the beginning of the journey that saw him do it consistently even through college.
A Journey of Saving Lives
After doing research, he discovered that every time he donated blood, more lives were saved, yet it didn’t cost him anything.
“I made a commitment and I set a target to donate blood three times a year. I mostly do it in April, August, and December,” he explained.
He adds that the choice of the months is based on the Kenyan school calendar when students are on holiday and there is little supply.
Moreover, this is because the blood donation exercise mostly depends on schools and colleges to maintain the banks.
Consequently, the routine earned him Head of State Recognition in 2016 while in June 2014, the office of the then First Lady Margaret Kenyatta awarded him during the World Donor Day celebrations.
“I’ve also recruited my children into the routine, and we are always looking forward to the next exercise,” he notes.
According to the Kenya Tissue and Transplant Authority (KTTA), in 2022, Kenya collected 48,715 pints of blood, translating to 70 percent of the targeted total of 500,000 pints and the highest collection since independence.
“This is a 200 percent increase from the year 2020,” read the statement by the KTTA.
Sanya has been in the forefront during national drives where he takes time to educate the public on the importance of blood donation.
“I’ve never felt like abandoning exercise and I’m always conscious when I’m due for my next donation,” says Sanya.
He adds that one just must make sure they’re healthy and should have a decent meal, which includes having breakfast before the exercise.
The Sence of Achievement
“I am proud of being the first and only Kenyan to having donated over 100 pints of blood and over something that has taken our country more than sixty years to achieve,” he says.
Being the only Kenyan to having achieved that it’s something no one will ever take away from me – I’ll always be mentioned when blood donation is talked about,” he adds.
In addition, Sanya notes that one of the greatest achievements through his voluntary work is attaining self-discipline life.
“Through this, I must lead a healthy lifestyle in all l do and being a role model to a vast number in the Kenyan population. l have to be very particular in both my private and public life,” adds Sanya.
As they say being number one is easy, maintaining number one is where all the work is done.
“Finally, l can say having achieved this number of times of blood donation in my life, it has given me exposure to a number of good things in life among them fame, and if one searches my name, they see me for the good reasons,” he adds.
According to KTTA, the demand has significantly risen, with blood collection growing from 130,000 units to 400,000 units.
During the 2023 world Blood Donor Day, Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha commended the donors for making sacrifices to save lives.
The day marked the retirement of Kenya’s highest Female Blood Donor Aisha Dafalla who had attained 76 donations.