This 16-Year-Old in Bangalore Set Up His Own Blood Bank After His Teacher Died For Want Of Blood

Through, Khoon, Chethan Gowda arranges blood to the needy after his teacher died because of its unavailability.

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When 16-year-old Chethan Gowda lost his teacher to blood unavailability, he was so moved that he decided to change something. “Our country has abundant blood, but people still die of blood shortage. I want to change that,” he says. At 16, Chethan has become an important link in the city that connects people who need blood, with willing donors. And, more importantly, at standard rates set by the government.

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Khoon, his city-based not-for-profit started in May 2016, maintains a directory of blood donors who can help people in need at the price sanctioned by the government. Those in need of blood get in touch with Chethan, who then directs them to donors. Chethan, with a few of his friends, also organises an awareness camp every month on the actual price of blood (Rs500 to Rs 2,000 for 450 ml), as well as the local blood banks. Currently, Khoon tracks availability of blood with Red Cross, Bowring Hospital Blood Bank and Life Saver. Up to 30 people have benefited from its helpline so far, and it has 250 registered donors. It maintains a directory of receivers and donors.

The basic agenda of the organisation is to make blood available for the needy at its actual price, unlike the inflated rates often quoted by private blood banks. “Prices at blood banks can go up to Rs 25,000 in case of emergencies, depending on the blood group. The corruption has deterred the very cause of saving a life with blood,” he says.

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Preethi Prakash, a resident of HSR Layout, benefited from Chethan’s initiative. She said: “I was in dire need of blood for my cousin who was suffering from dengue. I approached a blood bank in the city but they told me that there was no blood available with them. So, I called Khoon to link me up with a donor or a bank,” she said.

As it is a two-way street, Khoon also organises camps where volunteers donate blood, which is eventually transferred to government hospitals such as Bowring as well as private organisations such as Red Cross. Harshith Gowda, a first-time donor with Khoon, shared his experience. “It is an amazing feeling when you know that you are saving lives. I chose Khoon because I think that Chethan’s intention is only to help others and not to make money. I wanted to make my blood count,” he said.

As much as Chethan has been appreciated for carrying out these drives at such a young age, he has had his own set of challenges to face. His age is one of them. “Nobody takes me seriously when I say I want to help people with blood donations,” he said. “It takes a lot of paperwork and convincing from my side,” he admits.

Looking forward, Chethan now wants to employ a software that would allow automated response to information requests within the shortest period of time so that if a volunteer is not available to take the call, no time is lost in getting help. But this would require funding, and that’s something Chethan is looking out for. Renan Fernandiz Manzo, a web-developer from Brazil, wants to help.

Source: Bangalore Mirror

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