KOCHI: In 2019, while he spent many days and nights in bed recovering from a bike accident, Kozhikode-native Muhammed Saheer had many epiphanies regarding his life’s purpose. After eight months of recovery, the 21-year-old decided to push himself to engage in various charitable activities. But by the time he could get out and meet the world, the pandemic threw us all into the shade.
But Saheer was not one to give up. He started small by being a volunteer at a Covid first-line treatment centre in his neighbourhood. Up until then, life has been hectic and adventurous for him. Wanting to feel that energy again, he took his cycle out. Now, with his friend Fadi Jiyad, Saheer is cycling from Kanyakumari to Mangaluru on a mission to spread awareness on blood donation during Covid times.
“It is the time I spent recovering from my injuries became a turning point in my life. Since the pandemic outbreak, people have become reluctant to donate blood. To dispel their concern, I decided to go on a bicycle ride and spread the word to as many people as I can. When I shared the idea with Fadi, he agreed to join in. Our focus is on southern districts that has the least number of donours, so our first leg is between Kozhikode and Kanyakumari,” said Saheer.
The duo managed to have many positive milestones throughout the trip. “People were ready to interact and many of them helped us too. An army veteran housed us and fed us breakfast too. We mostly travelled through the coastal region and this helped us break many misconceptions about our fisherfolk. We started the journey with Rs 300, but we kept going with help from our friends and people we met along the way,” said the 21-year-old.
The duo started their journey on August 16. They ride through the day and stop around 7pm to be on the safe side. They stay at bus stops and bus stands at night. “We wanted to ensure it was a low budget ride. It’s been a learning curve for us. Our remaining phase from Kozhikode to Mangaluru will also be done without much delay,” he said.
For Fadi, who has always been passionate about cycling, Saheer’s idea was a welcome plan. “Apart from riding through southern Kerala for the first time, it’s immensely satisfying that our effort has inspired many to donate blood,” said Fadi Jiyad.
Zaheer wants to carry on with the community work alongside his studies. “Both of us are awaiting the results of final examinations of UG and wants to pursue higher studies. I have been working as a volunteer in a CFLTC for more than a year. I have been visiting homes to distribute medicines and essentials. Once our ride is over, we will go back to these activities again,” he said.
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