Baby PS from Thiruvananthapuram has been a giant in arranging blood for the needy for over three decades now with Terumo Penpol. Today is World Blood Donor Day
“Did you know that a single blood donation can potentially help four people? So, donating four times in a year may save 16 lives,” says Baby PS.
For over three decades now, Baby, has been instrumental in saving thousands of lives through her drive to arrange blood for the needy. “Many are unaware that nine out ten times, the required blood would be available and they run from pillar to post in the hour of need. But help can be just a phone call away,” the 57-year-old adds.
Baby narrates an incident last week when she received a call for AB negative blood. “At once, I put out a ‘distress call’ and reached out to our donor pool. Over 340 people in our database matched the required blood group and a suitable donor was promptly identified,” she says.
Baby is busy around the clock – even as we speak at Terumo Penpol’s office in Sasthamangalam, where she works as senior manager, public relations and CSR, her phone often comes alive with inquiries about availability of blood. A ready pool of donors and a wide network of “associates” are promptly contacted in the time of need. Baby considers the youth a good pool of potential donors and she says her organisation has been organising voluntary safe blood donation camps almost every week at Technopark. The camps are held often in association with Kerala Blood Donors Society and a non-profit blood donation forum, Tejus.
Baby, however, rues the lack of a community blood bank in the city. “Many countries have such centres, which facilitate timely location and supply of blood. Having such a system in place would also greatly cut the rigmarole involved in sourcing blood and ensure faster supply, which can be crucial in case of emergencies,” she says.
She expresses surprise at how sometimes voluntary donors reach out to her. “Most of the times, they get to know about us through our awareness camps. Also, our contact number is listed in some of the hospitals,” she says. Then there are many regular donors. “KP Rajagopal, a former worker at Medical College, used to donate blood regularly until he was diagnosed with a cardiac problem a few years ago. I think he donated blood some 99 times. Then there’s Baiju Nellimoodu, who has donated 121 times and counting…”
Not being able to meet a demand is upsetting. “That’s infrequent but on such occasions, you can’t help but feel sad,” she says, pointing out that a demand-supply gap is more common for rare blood types such as AB negative. “But one would assume availability for more common blood types, say O positive, would be easy. The flip side is that demand for such types is also commensurately higher,” Baby explains.
She remembers a “crisis” in 2007 when she received a call from a family from Nagercoil. They needed the rare Bombay blood for their two-year-old child admitted in a hospital in the city for a surgery.
“We couldn’t find a donor at all. I then got in touch with a regular donor and, luckily, he had some contact numbers of people with the Bombay blood group. We finally zoomed in on a donor from Mavelikara,” she recollects.
A poster made during ‘Thank You Blood Donor’ greeting card design contest
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Suffering from an auto-immune disease, the good Samaritan is however unable to donate blood herself and says she tries to “make up for it through her work.” Apart from the social service factor, Baby deems the life-saving act of blood donation as “good karma” and she goes on to narrate an anecdote about her firm belief.
“One time when I was in the hospital and my family was briefly away, the doctor told me my RBC count was extremely low and I was in immediate need of blood. My mobile phone was almost dying. You wouldn’t believe this, but just then a person called me, wanting to donate his blood and asking me how to go about it. It turned out his blood type matched mine,” she recollects with a smile.
For blood donation, contact: 9388022400
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