Former Santosh Trophy player Saleemkutty, 43, has provided surety for many people to help them take loan from banks. And most of these people have paid back in blood, literally.
“Most people I have provided surety for are either direct donors or have helped me get blood from others,” he said. Saleemkutty said that he has no idea how many people he has helped secure loans.
“The number could be well above 1,000. I am happy to help them because they have helped me save several lives by providing blood belonging to rare groups,” he said.
However, out of the scores of people who have benefited from his largesse, hardly less than one per cent have thanked him for providing blood on time.
Saleemkutty, who has played Santosh trophy football matches during the nineties and has attended various Olympics camps, earns his bread and butter from a hotel he runs at Thodupuzha. He has little time to run his business though.
Saleemkutty is engaged in the process of grooming young football talent in the district by conducting camps at the Newman college Thodupuzha. In the process he has helped national-level players like N P Pradeep and Justin Stephen.
This has also helped him enrol several football players into his blood donor network. Saleem has in his list donors who are part of mutually antagonistic organisations like the NDF, RSS, DYFI, Youth Congress, NSS, among others.
It all started when an unidentified person donated O negative blood to his sister during her delivery at Thodupuzha. He was 18 years of age then.
Saleemkutty had been active in this field way before blood banks were set up in Thodupuzha and at the District Hospital, Idukki. Although his yeoman services have yet to be recognised by the government, the former footballer has received countless awards and certificates from people and organisations who have recognised his work.
But during most of these occasions he had to heavily spent out of his pocket just to travel to various parts of the state to receive these awards, as most of the organisers of these programmes do not bother to reimburse his travel expenses. Talk about a thankless world.