A HUMANITARIAN TWIST ON WEDDING GIFTS
Weddings are coming of age, in more ways than one. More and more couples are thinking of unique themes for their wedding gifts, but in this piece, we tell you the story of three couples who took the humanitarian route and made their wedding an occasion to save lives.
It is customary for weddings to be lavish affairs no matter what culture you belong to. For most people, the wedding day is one in which they spend the most amount of money, sometimes willingly going into debt to give themselves that perfect, memorable day. In modern times, this trend of lavish weddings has been examined by some freethinking individuals, and budget weddings have been on the rise.
Some couples are beginning to ask their guests not to bring in gifts, asking them to bring ‘just blessings’ instead. But we have come across three couples who have taken this trend to another level, and turned their wedding ceremonies into giant humanitarian drives by organising blood donation camps on the occasion of their tying the knot.
1. Monica and Barry Gamble
A couple from Richmond, Virginia, USA, they decided to ask their friends and family members for a unique wedding gift: that of donating their blood at a hospital. After their wedding ceremony at the Chapel, the whole wedding party moved to the Virginia Blood Services Donor Center in Richmond.
Barry told a leading magazine that while gifts would have been nice, he and Monica decided that it would be better if their family and friends could save some lives. When asked if they did not miss getting ‘normal’ wedding presents, he said that giving blood was a lot more important than getting a toaster.
The staff at the blood donation center showed their appreciation to the newlyweds by decorating the blood donation room like a wedding chapel and also by getting a cake to serve the entire wedding party.
2. Dr. R. B. Bhesania’s Daughter’s wedding
Dr R. B. Bhesania, who practices as a medical doctor in Vadodara, Gujarat, sprang a surprise on all the guests of his daughter’s wedding by entreating them to donate their blood and organs on the auspicious occasion. As soon as the wedding ceremony was over, the couple donated their blood and organs first, after which many of their friends and relatives followed suit.
Dr. Bhesania said, ‘We had decided not to give any gold or other valuables to our daughter on the occasion of her wedding. Instead, we asked the couple to take a pledge that they would donate their blood and body as well. They also pledged that they would not support female foeticide, stay away from tobacco products, and would encourage others for blood and organ donation.
A total of 375 bottles of blood were collected on this one day.
3. Suvendra Kumar Pratap and Suchitra Jena
A similar drive was organised in Chandol village of Kendrapura district in Odisha. When the newlyweds asked their wedding guests to donate blood, most of them said yes and participated happily. Like in the case of Dr. Bhesania’s daughter’s wedding, in this event too the couple were the first to donate their blood.
One of the volunteers at the event, Sachikanta Nath, said that it was an unusual occasion because people were not told beforehand that they would be donating blood. They had come just to attend a wedding reception, and when told about the blood donating drive, a large number of them spontaneously said yes. He also said that getting volunteers for blood donation was not easy, and that the wedding did a great charitable job.