Voluntary Blood Donation is more than corporate social responsibility for many techies and organisations

When Vikas, a patient at Regional Cancer Centre and a native of Balussery, Kozhikode, needed blood every alternate day for three months, his relatives did not have to look further than Technopark. Each day they managed to find three willing techies ready to donate blood. There are many such tales of techies lending a helping hand. Voluntary blood donation (VBD) appears to be something that a lot of techies hold close to their hearts. There are many individuals and organisations in Technopark who go above and beyond the call of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and regularly donate blood and/or organise and participate in voluntary blood donation camps.

“It's more of a service to humanity than CSR, something that everyone should think of as an individual responsibility,” says Sthanu Ramakrishna Thampi, an accounts manager (finance) at UST Global, who has been a regular blood donor for the past 18 years, and one of those who are at the forefront of VBD drives in his company. UST regularly holds VBD camps on its premises four times a year, roughly around Republic Day, May Day, Independence Day, and Gandhi Jayanthi, in conjunction with NGOs and organisations such as Terumo Penpol Ltd. (TPL), and local hospitals such as RCC and Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), which provide the infrastructure.

Companies big and small

“We circulate an internal mail one week prior to the date of the camp, and whoever is willing will register. Each time some 40 to 50 people sign up for the camp,” adds Sthanu, whose contribution to VBD has been recognised with an outstanding Blood Donor Motivator award, instituted by TPL, for the year 2009.

It's pretty much the same story with each company, big and small – TCS, Infosys Technologies, UST Global, Allainz Cornhill, RR Donelley, SeaView Support Systems, Nest, SAtmatrix, Enter Technologies … Recently, Hindustan Lever has also tied up with companies such as Tata Elxsi and Nest, to provide a regular supply of donors to various blood banks in the city.

Of course, the bigger companies stand out in their VBD contributions because they have more number of employees, while it's the individual contributions that stand out in smaller companies. TCS, for example, organises a minimum of two camps annually. “We get up to 60 donors on an average whenever these camps are organised,” says Krishnakumar S., an assistant manger at TCS, who won this year's Blood Donor Motivator award.

“TCS also functions as an induction training centre and we often get an influx of new recruits. And new recruits mean new blood!” says Krishnakumar. On weekends (“or whenever convenient”) he, along with the HR team, makes arrangements for trainees who want to donate blood at the blood bank at SCTIMST, RCC, Medical College, and so on. “I think of it as a cause. I find that a lot of people are energetic and enthusiastic donors,” adds Krishnakumar. Over the years, TCS has also won many awards (by SCTIMST, TPL, and so on) for its contribution to VBD.

Infosys has bagged this year's award for the best institution promoting voluntary blood donation among private sector companies. The award will be presented to the company on June 14, World Blood Donor Day, at Vyloppilly Samskriti Bhavan. “It is our way of giving a helping hand; a small sacrifice that can possibly change a person's life for the better,” says Ramanathan Subramony Jayaram, an executive at UST Global. It's a thought that is echoed by many of these unsung heroes.

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