The contact list on Venu Kumar’s phone is bewilderingly interesting. Apart from the fact that there are over 10,000 contacts, the list also includes the blood group details of the people along with their name and phone numbers. This includes the details of six people with the not-so-common AB negative group and the rare Bombay Blood group.
A native of Kollam in Kerala, K S Venu Kumar has been helping to find blood donors for the needy for six years now. He also earned a moniker 'Venu A+ve'.
Venu, who makes arrangements for blood donations for free, is a graphic designer and photographer by profession. He owns a graphic designing studio at Kundara in Kollam.
Apart from blood donation, he is also involved in other initiatives such as distribution of free wheel-chairs, and food parcels in Kollam town.
Most people are not reluctant to donate blood. But they mostly refrain from doing so due to the hassle of taking public transport to reach the hospital.
When he spotted this problem, Venu decided to buy a vehicle for the purpose.
Around 65 people offered financial aid after he put up a social media post on this. Thus, he was able to buy the vehicle to take people for blood donation.
Services abroad too
Venu, who left for Dubai last year, has been involved in the blood donation drive even in the foreign country.
Venu's role attains significance as several hospitals do not have sufficient blood banks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He had helped in arranging blood for patients at the Latifa Hospital in Dubai recently. Venu took it upon himself to take the donors to the hospital and then dropped them back.
His friend Biju Badhaniya, who was inspired by Venu's services, gave his vehicle for free. Venu finds possible blood donors from social media platforms.
Venu has asked others to build phone contact lists with blood group details. So, if the need ever arises, they will not be running helter-skelter for the basic details.
After Venu shifted base to Dubai, his friends Roshan and Deepak are continuing his good work in Kerala.
Venu has a growing support base in both Kerala and Dubai.
His own experiences had prompted Venu to dedicate himself to the noble service. The incident happened when Venu was just a school-going lad. After finishing his class IX exams, Venu was on his way to a shop when his cycle rammed a person and he fell down. Venu was hit by an oncoming lorry.
Venu was rushed to the hospital. As he was bleeding profusely, he needed eight bottles of blood.
A person named Monachan was the first to donate blood. Even to this day, Venu has saved Monchan's number on his phone as 'Monachan, My God'.
"After that incident, I go to his home for every Onam. Only after giving sweets to him will I have my sadhya," Venu said.
"Another person named Salim had taken me to the hospital in a car. I will always remember him as well," Venu added.
When Venu resolved never to ask questions
Venu received a phone call three years ago - A Shooranad native needed B+ve blood. Venu promised to arrange for a donor on the said date.
The next day, the son of Shooranad native called and made enquiries. Venu asked the son about his blood group. When he said it was B+ve, Venu asked him why he was not donating blood for his father.
"That is for me to decide. Can you arrange the donor?" he rudely asked Venu.
A little later, the youth’s father called up Venu and apologised. Venu said it was ok and promised to arrange for the donor. They became friends and stayed in contact.
One day Venu asked him about his son during a phone call. The reply shocked Venu - the son had died of blood cancer.
Though the son had cancer, he did not inform his family about the dreaded illness.
After this heart-wrenching incident, Venu decided not to make any needless enquiries to those who sought his help.
Venu has set a blood donation message has his caller tune on the Kerala phone number. You just need to give a missed call to get his help.
Kerala - 9544255222
UAE - 0552042449, 0551727476