GUNTUR: His zest to save lives motivated Polireddy Uma Maheswara Rao to donate blood as many as 83 times. The 57-year-old from Guntur is a businessman and a yoga teacher.
“When I was in my mid-twenties, my relative got seriously ill and required surgery. Some 40 years ago, awareness on blood donation is not as much as today. It was very difficult to get blood or find donors for blood. It was the first time I donated blood and when she was saved, I realised what I had to do,’’ Uma Maheswara Rao recalls.
Till then, “I did not realise how much we can contribute to saving a person’s life. So I made it a habit to donate blood regularly,” he says. After a while he got married and his wife strictly prohibited him from donating blood anymore, worrying it might affect his health. But seeing that people came forward to donate blood and to save lives inspired by Rao, made her change her decision. Later, she also accompanied her husband for conducting blood donation camps, especially in rural areas.
“I thought it (donating blood) was my way of giving something back to the society. It is the only way I know. But recently, when I joined the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS), and I realised that people were getting inspired by my passion,’’ he says.
If people get motivated and coming forward to donate blood, then he thought of inspiring them more. “I started to conduct various awareness programmes for students, especially youth, shared my experiences and also the satisfaction it gave me to save save a person’s life,” Uma Maheswara Rao says.
“In the past couple of years, I was invited to many awareness programmes on blood donation across the State. As I am soon reaching 60, my goal is to complete a ‘century’ in the next three years. All I want to say is that donating blood costs nothing much, just our time. Lives of many people could be saved. So everyone should donate blood at least once in three months, if not more,’’ he adds.
Following his destiny
Maheswara Rao wants to complete a century of blood donations in the next three years. Everyone must donate at least once in three months, you don’t know it may save a person’s life