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ANUSHA PARTHASARATHY
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WEBSITEfriends2support helps you locate suitable blood donors without wasting time

SAVING LIVESThrough friends2support
SAVING LIVESThrough friends2support

How can you give back to society without any money being involved? In 2005, a group of IT professionals in Hyderabad decided on a project that would save lives; creating a one-of-a-kind online blood bank that works as a search engine for everyone across the country.

The website, friends2support (F2S), which has grown to have volunteers and representatives everywhere, has a rather successful Chennai chapter, says Jayakrishna Manthena. “I am from Hyderabad but moved here a few years ago. Shareef, the person who began the site, is a family friend and asked me to be its representative for Chennai and I've been with F2S for four-and-a-half years,” he says.

Jayakrishna says his number, the helpline in Chennai, receives more calls now than ever. “The website allows you to find a donor anywhere in the city by selecting the blood type. Donors can register themselves on the website too. Sometimes, people don't know how to operate the site or they are in some sort of emergency. At that point, I provide guidance and sometimes find them the donors on the site so that they can contact them immediately,” he explains.

While the site's template has different search options when one enters the state, city and area of requirement, Jayakrishna says he receives many calls from hospitals. “The good thing about that website is that if you need blood in a hospital that's, for instance, located on Greams Road, you can find someone in that area who can come immediately. It will save a lot of time. I get calls from people in hospitals asking for donors around that place. Many tell me that my number is put up on notice boards there. I get anywhere between 10 and 20 calls a day, some even from places like Salem and Kanyakumari,” says Jayakrishna.

With 25 other volunteers, Jayakrishna now conducts awareness campaigns in schools and colleges, free blood screening camps and hopes to conduct an F2S walk soon. “The data we have on our site is reliable because we don't collect it ourselves but people register voluntarily to donate blood. Most of our supporters here are software engineers who help in their free time. Sometimes, if I'm busy, I route the sos calls to one of them. It's good to see that it has spread so widely in this state.”

But his goal, he says, is to reach the government hospitals. “There is no point if only one section of society benefits from our initiative. We want to make sure it reaches the poor too. It is a free service and we don't derive any benefits out of it, except the 100 per cent satisfaction that the recipient receives.”

To visit friends2support, log on to www.friends2support.org or call Jayakrishna at 99400-55343.

ANUSHA PARTHASARATHY

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