“More than 60% of the population in India can donate blood right now, but not many people donate. I wanted to help solve this problem by coming up with a channel that would make it easier for people to arrange for blood,” says 24-year-old Raghav Baldwa who runs a Facebook page names Blood Sure to help patients and their families.
Raghav, a resident of Indore, was in college when he noticed how big a problem it is for many to arrange blood at the right time.
His father, who has donated blood about 70 times till now, used to get several calls from people asking for help. “The problem I saw was that many blood banks charge fees as high as Rs. 3,500 per pint of blood. This is not affordable for patients from low-income backgrounds,” says Raghav who went on to start a Facebook page named Blood Donors of Indore.
He started by motivating people to donate blood, gathering data of frequent blood donors, putting up requests from people looking for donors on social media platforms, asking his friends to share their blood groups and phone numbers so he could call when needed, etc.
This was in September 2012. Today, his Facebook page has been renamed to Blood Sure and he has helped over 14,000 people across the country.
He also has a data bank with contact details of over 70,000 frequent donors. He collected these details from various social media platforms, WhatsApp groups, etc.
Whenever he gets a request, Raghav posts the requirement on Facebook and Twitter tagging people he knows can help share the word. 75% of the requests are fulfilled online. For those where people don’t get any response, Raghav personally messages or calls donors and asks for donations. He also gets contact requests from other individuals and organizations that are helping patients arrange for blood. In the future, Raghav wants to launch an app with geotagging features to help people contact donors.
Raghav, who has himself donated blood about 20 times, says that he does this simply with the purpose of solving a social problem.
He organises blood donation camps in colleges, company campuses, etc. and all the collected blood is donated to a hospital for Thalassemia patients in Indore.
Raghav is currently working on two startup ideas related to organic food and patient management system for doctors.
“I once got a request from Sehore near Bhopal. The guy was asking for help for his father because he did not have the money to give to any blood bank. I shared his request on social media and he called back to thank me for playing an indirect role in saving his father. Many parents whose children are suffering from Thalassemia also call to thank me. These are the things that keep me motivated to work more,” he says.