Palak a journalism graduate believes in simplifying the complicated and writing about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. She calls herself a " hodophile" or in layman words- a person who loves to travel.
Mayank Agarwal was just 29 when he breathed his last at one of Bengaluru's hospitals last month. He had been put on a ventilator as his condition deteriorated after he tested positive for COVID-19. After battling the virus for 20 days, he passed away on April 26.
An enterprising young man, Mayank had a beautiful life with a flourishing career, a loving family, and countless friends. Always ready to extend a helping hand, he was the go-to person in a crisis. When he contracted the disease, his family had to bear witness to the trials and tribulations, making headlines, of people burning the midnight oil to save their loved ones from the deadly virus.
To honour his memories, his family decided to start an initiative to raise funds to help low-income families avail medical treatment. In a span of 24-48 hours, they were able to raise nearly ₹ 33 lakh and help as many as 50 families.
"Three days after his demise, we went to immerse his ashes when the pandit told us that rituals and traditions prompt us to mourn or cry but we are actually supposed to celebrate the person's life. This would lead the soul to find happiness—moksha," Purnima Agarwal, Mayank's mother told The Logical Indian.
"On hearing this, I was immediately reminded of all the times Mayank helped people. Whether it was family members, his friends, or strangers, he would never draw a line. He would be at his happiest self when he could help someone in need. I told Varun, Mayank's elder brother, to find a way to keep his kindness alive. We had to help him find moksha by helping others in whatever way possible," Purnima added.
She pointed out that there has been a hue and cry, across the country, for securing medical supplies including oxygen cylinders, hospital beds, and medicines. Even though do-gooders have been coming to the rescue of the ones in dire need, there are a number of low-income families that have been devastated because of COVID and are left to fend for themselves.
"These families did not have the money to pay hospital bills and in certain cases, the breadwinner of the family was hospitalised. All they had to look forward to was a life of debt and poverty. We decided to help by providing ₹2.5 lakh to each family to compensate for the medical expenses and tide over the financial crisis," said Purnima.
Mayank loved Bengaluru and was extremely passionate about the culture. His family started a fundraising initiative under 'Mayank Agarwal Memorial Fund' and decided to engage with Varun's followers on Instagram to raise the funds. "Since he had an active community of 60,000 members, we reached out to them for the funds. In a matter of 24 hours, we were able to collect over ₹25 lakh," explained Purnima.
There was no endorsement or involvement of any influencer or organisation for raising funds. Additionally, they collaborated with Shreyas Reddy, a Good Samaritan who has been distributing food packets to the homeless in Bengaluru, to provide funds to boost his initiative and feed the homeless and the needy under 'Project Seva'.
"Shreyas had been preparing and distributing 300 meals per day but we pitched in to ensure that food was delivered to at least 1,500 people so we raised funds for this initiative as well," she said.
"Varun, as well as Amreen Hasheem and team, have been working tirelessly to raise the funds and make sure that the money reaches the patient on time. The team members verify the financial background of the family seeking help and the hospital bills. They, then, speak to the doctors regarding the treatment and the expected expenditure. Once documents are verified, a fund-raising alert is put on Instagram with a link to donate on Ketto or Milaap. Whatever amount is raised, gets directly transferred to the family's account. We do not have any separate account for the purpose, we just act as the facilitators," added Purnima.
Currently, the initiative is restricted to one social media platform but they are looking to expand to Facebook and Twitter to get more donors for the cause. The family has also been pooling their own resources into the project.
"More middle-class families should come forward to help the low-income families particularly during a crisis that is expected to have a prolonged effect on the economy. We need to raise awareness on the importance of having health insurance. Every day, I try to find solace in the fact that we were able to prevent another family from losing their loved ones. Honestly, that has kept me going," she added.
If you want to contribute to help low-income families get access to timely medical aid, please visit the 'Mayank Agarwal Memorial Fund' page on Instagram and donate to the ongoing project. Your contribution can save a life.
Thank you for subscribing.
We have sent you a confirmation email.