By Muhammed Yasir
Blood can’t be manufactured – it can be only donated! The lack of availability of a matching blood group at the local blood bank and the tears of despair and helplessness of a woman, in need of blood for her husband, undergoing an emergency surgery is still fresh in my mind. The sigh of relief, she felt when she got a blood donor and a call from a potential blood donor at 3:00 am is still vivid for me.
I was deeply moved by the incident, and it compelled me to think about the lacunae in the system and impending need to bridge the gap. The incident motivated me to take up the initiative of creating an online database of volunteers willing to donate blood. After discussion on WhatsApp, I have created “Ehsas – Ek Zindagi Bachane Ka” (EEZBK), an online database of voluntary blood donors.
It did not take too long to realise the fruits of EEZBK and my efforts! Once, during a late night and despite the below freezing temperatures, we could arrange the rarest blood group O-ve for two kids admitted in the Children’s Hospital. I thank all those who came forward to help, the donors, media and all those who supported us by spreading the news about the need for the rare blood group.
On 12 Jan., 2017, when my father had to undergo an emergency surgery at the SMHS hospital, Srinagar, I saw a lady accompanying her husband who had to undergo a surgery. She could neither find a suitable blood donor nor arrange blood for her husband. At the same time I have witnessed another patient suffering from cancer, also in the need of blood. A brief conversation with them made me realise that they were looking for a potential blood donor but failed to find one. In the process, they lost not only money on travel and precious time but also hope. So I took the advantage of social media, Facebook and WhatsApp to arrange blood donors for them. Within no time, I got an overwhelming response, many calls from potential donors, even at around 3 AM. The need was met and the family thanked the donor for his courage and selfless humane act of kindness. I was super excited, to see both the donors and the patient’s family with smiling faces! One was happy because her need was fulfilled and the other was happy because he was the source for her happiness; and I was excited because I could bring them together, bridge the gap between the donor and the recipient!
Soon after this emotionally moving experience, an idea occurred to my mind and this was to create a database which could prove helpful in similar situations. I have decided to do something which could potentially save not only time but also precious life. My close friends have not only applauded my idea but also have extended immense support since the day one. I have discussed with them the idea of launching a website to “Bridge the Gap” between the patient and potential blood donor and they agreed to extend their full support.
I am thankful to all those who supported the initiative and continue working on creating awareness among the public about the patient-blood donor gap and need to fix it through volunteering and designing alternate mechanisms to save precious lives.
Till date, EEZBK has around 454 registered volunteer blood donors, (47 A+ve; 7 A-ve; 76 B+ve; 9 B-ve; 74 O+ve; 22 O-ve; 24 AB+ve; 3 AB-ve; and over a 100 volunteers with profiles which are not updated), ready to help those in need.
My message to all is that “You can save a life, not just one but many, unknowingly”. So, please help us to help society. Let us join hands and work for humanity irrespective of caste, creed, colour, status, wealth, race, ethnicity, gender, orientation, faith, or religion. Please remember, where there is a will there is a way!
—The author is a computer teacher by profession and hails from Amda Kadal, Lal Bazar, Srinagar. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org