Delhi man walks 13,400 km across India, urges people to donate blood

- June 14, 2023
| By : Patriot Bureau |

Kiran Verma said he decided to dedicate a couple of years of his life to reset the idea that Indians do not have a culture of donating blood

Kiran Verma. Photo: Facebook

Delhi-born activist Kiran Verma embarks on his second World Blood Donor Day journey, aiming to raise awareness about blood donation.

Carrying a placard urging people to donate blood, Verma is walking 21,000 kilometers from Malda to Siliguri, a town in West Bengal nestled in the Himalayan foothills.

“We cannot be complacent about this. Everyday more than 12,000 people fail to get blood in India due to which more than three million people died. During the second wave of Covid, this reality hit home even harder as almost every person went through plasma crisis. This fear to donate blood must be tackled immediately,” Verma said.

Verma said he decided to dedicate a couple of years of his life to reset the idea that Indians do not have a culture of donating blood.

He began his current journey on December 28, 2021, in Thiruvananthapuram. In 2018 too, Verma traveled 16,000 km across India, covering more than 6,000 km on foot, to get people to donate blood.

“India needs 15 million units of blood annually, according to 2017 government data. There is no official data after that. It also states that annually, India manages to get 10-11 million units of blood. So, here I am walking, hoping to catch the attention of that 5 million people who will make a huge difference between life and death,” said Verma.

His story goes thus: On December 2016, Verma donated blood after being told that a poor family from Raipur was in dire need of it. After donating blood, he went to meet the family and got to know that the person who called him took Rs 1,500 for the blood that he donated for free.

“I was gutted. I could not forget how desperate that family was. So, I started Simply Blood. My aim is simple: nobody should die because of lack of blood in India,” Verma added.

According to Verma, Simply Blood, a virtual blood donation platform that connects blood donors and seekers real-time without charging anyone, was launched on January 29, 2017, and it has saved more than 35,000 potential lives through blood donation so far.

But Covid bought its own set of complications, said Verma. “Voluntary blood donation in India has gone significantly down in the last three years. So, I decided to go on a walk to get the attention of people,” he added.

Renewing his efforts all over again to meet the deadline of his mission, Verma said by December 31, 2025, he hopes to have convinced enough people so that India could have all the blood it needs.

This time he decided to cover the length and breadth of the country, and all on foot.

“Till now, I have walked more than 13,400 km across 176 districts, 12 states and UTs, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Dadra Nagar and Daman and Diu, Gujarat, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and West Bengal in 17 months,” he said.

Verma added that the only time he took a break from walking, for almost a month, was to visit countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Bangladesh, where he was invited to talk about his efforts to promote blood donation.

In India, his strategy is simple. Walk to a place where people come in droves, like landmarks and temples. (With inputs from PTI)