Shedding blood to save lives

K. S. Mony Azhicode -- Winner of several awards, K. S. Mony Azhicode, donated blood for the 100th time recently. In a chat with S. Anil Radhakrishnan, Mony talks about his crusade for the noble gesture.

BLOOD DONATION should be made compulsory and incentives given to encourage the noble gesture among the people, feels K. S. Mony Azhicode, who has created a record of sorts by donating blood voluntarily 100 times and saved many lives.

``Blood donation is even now seen as a taboo in the State, which is 100 per cent literate. We have not been able to create an awareness among the people that it is safe to donate blood,'' says Mr. Mony, who donated blood for 100th time at the SCTIMST here on October 1 which coincided with the National Blood Donation Day.

People are generally apprehensive in donating blood even to their kin during an emergency. Even the educated class are concerned whether blood donation will hamper their physical activities or they will contract any disease. The spread of HIV virus through blood had also affected blood donation to a considerable extent, he says. Apart from the light refreshment provided to the donors, Mr. Mony says the Government should try to rope in students by providing grace marks in examinations and employees by giving incentives who donate blood for a specified number of times.

Serving as publicity officer in the grade of Deputy Director in the State Planning Board, Mr. Mony says he first donated his blood (A positive) in 1968 for a 12-year-old boy undergoing treatment at Medical College Hospital while he was studying in the Mahatma Gandhi College.

"For the last 34 years, I had donated blood voluntarily three to four times a year and during emergencies without accepting any money,'' he says with pride.

As a KSU activist, he met with an accident at Venjaramoodu on his way to attend a campaign meeting at Kilimanoor during the 1962 Lok Sabha elections. Recalling the incident, he says: "I had sustained injuries in the head and spinal cord. I remained unconscious for three days and was in hospital for a year. It was five Congress workers who gave me a fresh lease of life to me by donating their blood. This had inspired me to donate blood voluntarily for the last 34 years.''

Mr. Mony says he was in a dilemma whether the parents of a 15-year-old Brahmin girl would accept his blood as untouchability still prevailed.

"I asked the parents hether they will accept my blood for their daughter and they started crying. The incident taught me the lesson that blood has no caste and creed.''

Of the 100 donations made so far, 60 per cent have been in Kerala and the rest outside. The 54-year-old blood donor says he often takes those interested along with him and has plans to create an awareness among the Plus Two and college students. Winner of several awards such as International Red Cross Best Donor Award, commendation from Indian Red Cross Society and the Best Social Worker of Kerala, Mr. Mony says his motto has been "Donate blood, Retain Youthfulness''.

At present, Mr. Mony is also the president of the Deseeya Dalit Federation, an all-India organisation working for the welfare of SC/ST. During the yearlong Golden Jubilee celebrations of the country's independence organised in 1997-98, he toured almost all the States as part of the "1,000 speeches'' campaigning against corruption, terrorism and communalism.

He also finds time for social work and writes articles concerning socio-economic development and welfare of the backward communities in various publications such as Yojana.

At present, he is busy giving final shape to the book titled "Power of Blacks''. Photo: K. G. Santhosh

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