Ever since the second wave of the pandemic started ravaging the country, social media platforms have been abuzz with requests for blood and plasma donations. While these sites have helped in amplifying requests and finding timely aid, the slew of Covid-related messages that inundate our timelines every day, have left us feeling overwhelmed and helpless.
This is where a group of bikers in Delhi decided to step in. Bikers For Good, a motorcycle club originally launched to change society’s negative perception of bikers, is working to build India’s biggest blood donor database.
Their website has a dedicated 24x7 Covid helpdesk, where donors and patients from any part of the country can register to offer or request blood/plasma.
“There might be cases when you get a request that’s 10-days old. Maybe, by the time you received the message, the patient has already received help or even, sadly, passed away. Meanwhile, the patients’ family undergoes a lot of mental trauma trying to verify every lead themselves. So, to address these two problems, we have created simplified and organised the entire process of blood and plasma donation,” says founder Mohit Ahuja.
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Bikers For Good has partnered with Reckitt Benckiser (RB) to raise awareness about the need for blood donors at this crucial hour, when the country is battling the peak of the pandemic.
For Ravi Bhatnagar, Director, External Affairs & Partnerships, RB, this project holds a lot of personal significance.
“Last year, a Muslim family from Aligarh had reached out to me seeking plasma, just a few days after I had recovered from the virus. While I was able to donate, it was too little too late, and the patient died. Later, I found out they had approached many other probable donors before me, but had been turned away on religious and casteist grounds. I was shocked. Since then, I’ve wanted to do something to address this issue. This initiative by Bikers For Good provides a glimmer of hope,” says Bhatnagar.
With all hands on deck, the 37 members of Bikers For Good’s Delhi chapter have set up a makeshift call centre, matching blood donors with patients, amplifying requests for medicines and medical equipment and also leading by example.
For instance, club member Gaurav Gambhir has been riding to hospitals and Covid care centres in Noida to find out how many beds are available, and during which periods they are willing to admit patients.
Amid all this chaos, the club has not forgotten non-Covid patients who have suffered greatly ever since the pandemic started overburdening the Indian healthcare system.
Members Bharat Khandelwal and Deepanshu Bhardwaj have been donating blood for thalassemia patients, who have also been finding it difficult to find donors at a time when everyone is focused on battling the virus.
From working with differently-abled people, campaigning for issues such as the need to respect law, creating awareness about personal hygiene to building a well-connected blood donors’ database, Bikers For Good has come a long way.