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Guntur youth on walkathon from Kanyakumari to J&K to promote blood donation

Ranchi: Last year during the nationwide lockdown due to covid-19 pandemic, 24 year old Gandu Shiva’s elder sister suffered miscarriage due untimely availability of blood. Months down the line, the youngster from Guntur in Andhra Pradesh is on an arduous journey on foot walking miles traversing across different states from Kanyakumari to Jammu & Kashmir to raise awareness about voluntary blood donation and to press for a blood bank in his village—Timmapaelm in Addanki mandal of Prakasam district in Guntur.

“Even though the journey is triggered due to personal tragedy, the larger goal is for larger good,” said Shiva, first year student of M.Sc in chemistry from JKC college in Guntur.

Beginning from April 1, he covered about 7000km so far starting from Kanyakumari and walking through Kerala, Hyderabad, Maharashtra, Orissa, Kolkata among others. On Thursday, he reached Ranchi, Jharkhand’s capital. Tomorrow morning, he will head to Patna (Bihar).

Recalling about the motivation behind his campaign, Shiva said that last year, his family encountered a personal tragedy which drew his attention towards the reeling crisis that his nation is confronted with even as it is fighting the pandemic along with the rest of the world.

“Along with it, the larger goal is to promote voluntary blood donation,” he added. “About 10 lakh people require blood daily in the country but only 2 lakh have access to it. Many blood banks extort money to supply taking advantage of the crisis. Imagine the plight of thousands who are fighting Thalassemia, cancer among other ailments requiring regular blood. Only through donations, the situation can be improved as the blood can’t be manufactured in labs,” he said.

Shiva is aiming to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he reaches Delhi but unsure if that materializes. He however said that vice president M Venkaiah Naidu has agreed to lend his ears. “When I began my journey, my college principal spoke with Naidu about the mission. He has assured to meet me in Delhi,” he said.

Shiva’s journey is expected to take another three to four months, he said. “Daily, I am covering about 70km on an average,” he said. On how he is managing his expenses, he informed that he took loan of Rs 2 lakh and rest are being arranged through donations by likeminded people he is coming across at different places. People willing to donate can make so on his Google pay account on 8186085585.