Most of the time Blood Donation posters or hoardings fail to attract your attention in cities that are already impregnated by advertisements. Skipping that part, how many of us ignore these posters while traveling to our work? Even on Facebook, most of us skip the post without a thought, thinking that someone else will volunteer for this noble cause.
While India is still fighting with “mera kya jata hain” mindset, this 18-year-old from Bengaluru not only proved to be a good samaritan but he is a real superhero, who ensures that no one anywhere in the world dies of blood shortage.
Chethan M Gowda, in a heart-stirring conversation with Life Beyond Numbers, says, “It is high time that we promote a new culture of blood donation in India so that no one has to lose someone due to blood crisis.”
From starting ‘Dream Teams’ to becoming a Blood-Banker
When you help other people there is a sense of fulfillment that money can’t buy. “You will always find people who appreciate your efforts and people who pull you back. You need to figure out what is right and follow it,” says Chethan between smiles.
A second-year mechanical engineering student, Chethan’s first entry to the social sector was when he was in class 7 where he had to find a solution to civic issues for a project. “By the time I was sitting for my boards, along with my friends I created Dream Teams in 2015. The idea was to work with elderly people and old-age homes and help them with monthly funds by organizing events.”
He continues. “Same year, some of my friends were in dire need of blood for their relatives and were looking for blood donors. This triggered a very painful memory of losing my teacher, who was unable to procure blood at the right time. I was sad and annoyed at the absurdity of people dying from blood shortage in a nation that is home to 1.3 billion people,” he recalls.
Began as a word-of-mouth campaign in 2016, Khoon took shape slowly in the last 2 years and now is a well-organized network of 40 members and 300+ volunteers from across the country. Currently, it is also one of the seven organizations to team up with Facebook to help locate blood donors and notify them of blood requests.
Mixing Entertainment with Blood Donation
“One thing I realized that in India creating ‘blood-donation culture’ is crucial and we can only eradicate the problem of blood crisis if people come forward to donate generously. Therefore, I decided to mix entertainment with blood donation to attract more people especially teenagers,” says Chethan.
In the beginning, people hardly came to donate blood but the idea of theme-based blood donation camp fascinated youths to come forward and contribute to this noble cause. “The idea was a huge success because we organized a music concert, displayed musical instruments. Watching 270 donors lining up to donate blood was very special for us,” he says.
Chethan has taken this initiative to an international scale by including countries like Arizona (US), Greece and Brazil in the list.
There is always a positive side and negative side to everything you choose and therefore it is necessary to pick what is right for yourself. “My family support me to some extent and a few friends who help me to run this initiative. This is not something that starts today and ends tomorrow. It demands dedication and patience,” he adds.
Why You Must Donate
In schools, we are taught to score good marks to secure our future. Why not pause for a second and do something to help people around us and bring a smile on their face? Chethan urges youngsters “to break norms, come forward to show their support and take part in numerous social activities so that they can bring change in someone’s life.”
According to a report, India fell short of 1.9 million units of blood in 2016-17, equivalent to 60 tankers, that could have aided more than 320,000 heart surgeries or 49,000 organ transplants.
In case you are shocked to see these figures, willing to help and understand that blood cannot be manufactured in factories, it can only come from generous donors-