BENGALURU:To create awareness about blood donation, a Delhiite Kiran Verma started walking from Srinagar on January 26. He's been in the city from April 1 and has been spreading awareness in several parts of the city through talks at different institutes “I hope through my story, people will understand the value of blood donation,” he says.
The 33-year-old says he has been receiving overwhelming responses from the residents in Bengaluru. He targets to meet 10 people in each lap covering 15 km of his walk. Kiran’s main motto for this walk is 'Just Donate Blood'. His next stop is Mysuru and he will further travel to Kerala. “I am going to travel to every state and union territory. I will be travelling to Nepal and Bhutan as well and if I get visa, then I might include Sri Lanka on the list,” he says.
He says while he was in Jaipur, he inspried a man to donate blood. "I coincidentally met him after two days at a restaurant. I learned that he donated blood for the first time after hearing my story." He says one of his other memorable moments is meeting two fruit-sellers while at a collector's office in Ratnagiri. "After hearing my story, they were kind enough to offer me their fruits. It showed me that even poor people are willing to give back to the society," he says.
Kiran, after the success of his app Simply Blood, decided a few months ago to meet people directly and break the myths about blood donation. “An estimate of 10,000-12,000 people die every day in India due to lack of blood donors. So I decided to walk and meet people with whatever savings I have from my job at a marketing department in an IT university,” says Kiran. Starting from Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir, Kiran has been to 11 states and a union territory, walking over 15,000 kilometres so far.
At the age of seven, Kiran lost his mother to cancer. Her demise got him disturbed. After failing his grade 11, he left home and started selling posters for a living while sleeping on roadside.He decided to study further and do a diploma. One of his teachers had a kidney problem and was in need of blood. “I thought by donating blood, I could get some extra marks from her,” he jokingly says. When her son appreciated him, he realised he had actually done something good which motivated him to start a blood donation drive to help people. In 2016, he quit his job to campaign for blood donation full-time. He hired five college-pass outs and launched Simply Blood in January 2017 with an aim to bridge the gap between donors and patients. The app has over 40,000 registered users from all over the world. Kiran has also received requests from Pakistan too.