KADAPA: Finding a person rendering selfless help is rare, but here is a family of 12 persons, who make it a point to donate blood frequently, as they believe donating blood is a god sent opportunity and a sure method to save lives. There are instances of one or two people of a family donating blood, but certainly not a dozen. In this aspect, ‘Dondlavagu Family’ has set itself apart from others. The family is quite happy to be called blood donors. They say it is not a big deal, as their motive is never to get ‘fame’, but only doing service.
The family has inspired others to follow the path of blood donation and created a force of 400 blood donors till now. These ‘life savers’ go wherever there is a need for blood. Dondlavagu Venugopal (52) is the only person in the two Telugu States, who donated blood 97 times. He hails from Chitvel, located on the Nellore-Kadapa border. He is a gold medal winner in MA Sociology from Sri Venkateswara University in Tirupati and received the medal from then Governor C Rangarajan in 1996.
He says the seeds for his campaign were sown when his parents—Subbarayudu and Lakshmamma—met with an accident and his mother was badly in need of blood to undergo a surgery. “I became aware then of the importance of blood donation and how anguished one feels when they do not get blood to save the lives of their near and dear ones,” he says. His mother lost the battle and his father took ill and was admitted to SVIMS in Tirupati. It was for the first time Venugopal and his elder brother Dr Chandrasekhar donated blood at SVIMS.
“From then onwards, there was no turning back. I made it a point to donate blood at regular intervals. The happiness I get when the life of the person to whom I have donated blood is saved cannot be described in mere words. I become emotional, when the relatives of those who received blood, treat me as their own family member,” Venugopal says.
Be it Tirupati, Kadapa, Nellore, Chennai, Hyderabad or Bengaluru, wherever there is need for blood, he would go there and donate his blood. For the last three decades, he has been donating blood once every 90 days. He has also donated blood earlier than recommended in cases of emergency.
To ensure that he is fit and able to donate blood, he follows a strict regimen and his diet comprises greens, sprouted seeds, millets and fruits. He says his elder brother Dr Chandrsekhar has donated blood 40 times. His other brothers, Srinivas and Madhu Sudhan, their wives, Venugopal’s wife, Dr Chandrasekhar’s wife, nephews and nieces have made it a habit of donating blood.