Angels of Mumbai: Meet the ‘oxygen man’ who is saving the lives of gasping COVID-19 patients

Mumbai: While India continues to grapple with the havoc caused for the second wave of Covid-19, several countries from world over have stepped in to lend a helping hand with financial aid, essential medical equipments, and other things. But, the battle is nowhere near over. The need for oxygen is still high. Several Covid patients are gasping for air, as the country continues to grapple with the second Covid wave.

Many citizens are coming forward to help out in whatever way they can. And, one such individual is Malad resident Shahnawaz Sheikh, who sold his car to help patients who are in desperate need of oxygen cylinders.

It was the passing away of one of his close friend’s pregnant sister due to lack of oxygen last year that led him to a path. Initially, he managed to secure just 30 oxygen cylinder, however, as the demands kept rising, he later sold his SUV car valued at Rs 22 lakh and bought 200 cylinders. Last year, he managed to help around 4,000 people and as cases started going down, he slowed down his initiative. But now with the situation worsening once again, Sheikh and his team restarted their initiative and have been able to help 600 patients so far.

Sheikh, the eldest in the family, had purchased the car with his savings. Though not from a financially well-off family, Sheikh managed overcome hurdles and set-up a small business and is into the construction sector today. He has a team of around 25 college students, who assist him in supply of oxygen cylinders to patients, co-ordinate with suppliers among others.

“We have set up a war room in one of the grocery stores in our area. We get hundreds of calls from people reaching out for help. The war room has data of all private and government hospitals and ambulance services. We are trying to help as many people as we can,” Sheikh said while talking about his philanthropic activity.

Sheikh has also managed to get monetary help from fellow good samaritans and is now popularly known as the Oxygen Man of Mumbai.

Last year. when the first nationwide lockdown was imposed, Sheikh started helping migrant workers and the homeless by providing them ration and food packets.

(Those who wish to lend a helping hand can visit his NGO, Unity and Dignity Foundation, website www.udf-ngo.com)

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