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Blood donors come forward to help save stabbed Gdansk mayor

Pawel Adamowicz at a rally in Gdansk in April 2018. Credit: AP

Polish blood donors are coming forward in droves in a bid to save the life of a Polish mayor after he was stabbed while on stage at a charity event.

Pawel Adamowicz, the mayor of Gdansk, was rushed to hospital after being attacked with a sharp tool around 7.00pm on Sunday.

The 53-year-old grabbed his stomach and collapsed in front of an audience while on stage at the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, Poland's most important charity.

Doctors operated for five hours on Mr Adamowicz, who was stabbed in the heart and abdomen on Sunday by an ex-convict who rushed onto the stage with a knife.

The man shouted out the attack was an act of revenge against a political party Mr Adamowicz had belonged to.

Gdansk mayor Pawel Adamowicz, right, speaks to an audience shortly before he was stabbed. Credit: AP

Doctors resuscitated Mr Adamowicz on the spot and then transported him to the Medical University of Gdansk, where he underwent five hours of surgery.

One of the surgeons, Dr Tomasz Stefaniak, said Mr Adamowicz was in "very, very serious condition" after he suffered a "serious wound to the heart, a wound to the diaphragm and to the internal organs".

He said Mr Adamowicz needed massive blood transfusions.

Polish broadcaster TVN revealed footage showing Mr Adamowicz on stage with a sparkler in hand telling the audience it had been a "wonderful day" and then the attacker came toward him.

A man brandishes what appears to be a knife just after stabbing Mr Adamowicz. Credit: AP

Police said the suspect was a 27-year-old who had been recently released from prison, where he had served a term for bank robberies.

A police spokesman, Mariusz Ciarka, said the attacker appeared to have mental health problems and gained access to the area with a media badge. It is unclear how he acquired the credential.

He was arrested and is under investigation.

The Gdansk mayor is believed to be a in a very serious condition. Credit: AP

The mayor had been on the streets of his Baltic port city earlier in the day collecting money for the charity, along with volunteers around the country.

European Council President Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister who is from Gdansk, wrote on Twitter: "Let's all pray for Mayor Adamowicz. Pawel, we are with you."

Adamowicz has been mayor of Gdansk, a Baltic port city, since 1998.

People participate in the annual fundraising event of the 27th Grand Finale of Christmas Charity in Warsaw, Poland. Credit: AP

He was part of the democratic opposition born in that city under the leadership of Lech Walesa during the 1980s.

As mayor, he is seen as a progressive voice and has supported LGBT rights and tolerance for minorities. He showed solidarity with the Jewish community when the city's synagogue had its windows broken last year, strongly denouncing the vandalism.

Gdansk is one of Poland's largest cities, on the country's Baltic coast, with a population of around 570,000.