A friend in need: This man raised 8.5 lakh overnight to help his childhood friend

By: Rukmini Chopra

Published On: May 29, 2018

Amount raised: Rs. 11,03,221 

Number of donors: 965

“Abhishek is not just a friend. He is more like my big brother,” says Vishal Belwal, who moved mountains to help his childhood friend.

The morning of March 10.

In the wee hours of the morning, Abhishek, and his colleague, were returning from work after a night shift, in New Delhi. Abhishek, who is an NCC (National Cadet Corps) cop, was undergoing his training and had taken up a part time job at a call centre.

The journey turned out to be an unfortunate one as the duo met with an accident. While the colleague suffered from minor injuries, Abhishek injured his head severely and was in a state of coma. He was rushed to the hospital and was left unattended for a ong time till his friends reached there and transferred him to another nearby hospital. 

The doctors said that Abhishek would have to undergo two brain surgeries immediately which would cost at least Rs. 10 lakh. 

The initial days.

Hailing from a simple, middle-class background, Abhishek’s family couldn’t afford such an exorbitant cost. That’s when his childhood friends, came to Abhishek’s rescue. Vishal led the effort along with Kavya. Read Kavya’s account of the incident here: Link

“In the initial stages, we managed the money on our own. We asked our group of friends and some others to contribute as much as they could. Some chipped in Rs. 5,000, and others Rs. 10,000. Gradually, we were able to collect Rs. 1 lakh that helped in paying off Abhishek’s initial medical bills,” says Vishal. 

The big challenge ahead.

Though Vishal and his group of friends succeeded in collecting a lakh in the beginning, they still needed Rs. 10 lakh and more, to fund for Abhishek’s surgeries and postoperative treatment. They had to reach out to more people for help and thus decided to try crowdfunding. 

They raised Rs. 8.5 lakhs in the first 24 hours!

How they did it:

“We made sure we shared Abhishek’s fundraiser on Whatsapp, Facebook, and Instagram,” says Vishal, adding, “We gave equal importance to all the three and promoted his fundraiser simultaneously on all platforms.” 

Vishal goes on to talk about the importance of involving varied groups, when promoting a fundraiser. “On Whatsapp, we made it a point to share Abhishek’s story on all Whatsapp groups, involving our friends, Abhishek’s relatives, his friends, his colleagues from the NCC circle, etc. 

We did the same for Facebook, where we approached Facebook pages and groups such as Dehradun United, with the thinking that because people on such groups, hail from the mountainous regions like us, there will be someone connected to Abhishek’s family since these are close knit groups and often know of each other. We applied the same strategy on Instagram, as well.” 

And thanks to their awesome teamwork, Vishal and his friends managed to raise 8.5 lakh overnight! 

The most responsive platforms:

Vishal says that Whatsapp and Facebook proved to be the most responsive, when it came to promoting Abhishek’s fundraiser. “A lot of Abhishek’s friends and relatives donated in huge amounts. But we were pleasantly surprised to see the same kind of generosity from complete strangers. There was a donor who contributed a lakh to Abhishek’s fundraiser.” 

Key points to take away from Abhishek’s success story

Tackling all social media platforms: Vishal and his friends didn’t just focus on one social media platform but promoted Abhishek’s story on several of them, making sure that they engage as many people as possible.

Involving people from various networks: The group made it a point to rope in everyone that knew Abhishek, ranging from his close friends, family members, his colleagues etc. 

Engaging with various groups: Aside from reaching out to people that knew Abhishek, Vishal and his friends took a chance by engaging with various strangers on social media groups, that worked wonders for the team.

Teamwork: The success of the fundraiser was not the doing of one person. Instead, Abhishek’s friends worked as a team. Each one reached out to his/her own network to pool in funds and led the fundraiser in different respects, while his family tended to him in the hospital.

Some advice:

When asked what he would like to say to other campaigners, Vishal says, “I urge all campaigners to go out there and promote their fundraisers as aggressively as possible, as you never know where you might get your money from and from whom.” 

He adds that after raising 8.5 lakh, some of his friends went door-to-door asking for more funds. “Though we did most of our work online, nothing stopped us from personally approaching people for help and they were some that were highly open to contributing for Abhishek’s well being.” 

Check out Vishal’s fundraiser here

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