Sunday, August 08, 2010

A great idea!

A few days back, I got a call from a friend. Her father was undergoing a heart surgery and needed AB+ blood in Bombay. She asked me if I knew someone. My answer ,"Sure, I'll get you someone in about an hour". As promised, within an hour,my father had called a gentleman with AB+ blood and he agreed to be present wherever required the next morning.

Many years back, my father did something on a small scale, which I feel is of great significance. We had a small health camp in our society (it was primarily for cancer , but served some other purposes ). Here's what he did:

1. Get 2-3 local doctors/nurses to check and make blood group cards for all the people who came. A simple test, and you get a card which carries your emergency contact info and your blood group, so that God Forbid, if you are in an accident, and some good Samaritan tries to help you, he has all the info he needs from that card.

What you had to give in return was to register your name/phone number and blood group in a small diary that my father has maintained till date. it contains the names of all people and their phone numbers with blood groups. If someone ever calls us in the middle of the night asking for blood, we can ask the concerned person if they would be interested in volunteering and then connect the two parties together.

While I loved this idea and thought this was important enough, when someone actually thanked me more than profusely for getting info about a donor, I was overwhelmed. And that's why this comes as a blog-post because I think it's an idea that can and should be implemented in co-operative housing societies across India.

2. The Indian Cancer Society used to assist in organizing Cancer Detection Camps. Their funda was simple. They would charge Rs. 65 ( am sure it's more than that today) for basic testing of a person for cancer . All they needed was that there should be 100 people attending and that logistics (like tables, electricity , lunch/snacks for staff) would be provided, and they would come and conduct the check. It would either clear you of everything or , if they suspected something, they would recommend a further check.

What I found particularly interesting was, that for a person in India , if I ask them to do a checking on a weekday for cancer, they would think about costs/excuses. But then, on a Sunday morning, a low-cost test would be kind of welcome. Especially when you know that it's done by not-for-profit [I am not sure if the ICS is not-for-profit or not ] .

One more significant advantage was that since it was mostly done on a non-charitable basis, you did not have to go through the processes of fundraising. Anyone could think about it and do it done in one days of effort. As far as volunteers were concerned , kids can always be roped in to do simple things like crowd control and money collection .

The camp was particularly successful as it helped a few people go for further checking and treatment in early stage of cancer.

A small idea- but quite visionary. Kudos to you, Pappa :) .

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