VISAKHAPATNAM: A 24-year-old youngster who set out on a walkathon (padayatra) from Kanyakumari to spread awareness on blood donation in view of the acute blood shortage during lockdown reached Visakhapatnam on Saturday, August 29, 2021. So far he has covered a distance of 4,016 km in 120 days. G Siva of Guntur said he began his padayatra from Kanyakumari on April 9 and covered over 300 villages in 70 districts in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra and Gujarat till now.
Siva said his cousin sister’s daughter faced blood shortage during delivery as most of the blood banks ran out of blood following the pandemic. He had then run from pillar to post for blood and could manage to get blood in the eleventh hour. So as to spread the message on the need for blood donation and generate awareness among the people he began a walkathon. Siva is the only son of his parents and initially, they were against his idea of the padayatra. However, they relented after they were convinced by his friends and some officials, Siva said.
He has conducted 33 blood donation camps with the support of the local blood banks en route and distributed nearly 1.23 lakh pamphlets in English, Hindi and Telugu. Along with national highways he chose to cover rural roads to reach out to the maximum number of the people in villages. Siva stated that he enjoyed his walkathon due to the overwhelming response he received from the people in all the villages he had visited.
Speaking about the hurdles he faced during his journey, Siva said once he met with an accident in Hyderabad and had to be hospitalised. He said he had a close shave when a car had almost run over him while he was sleeping on a footpath in Banjara Hills in Hyderabad. He suffered a sprain in his leg and resumed his padayatra after 20 days of treatment. Siva said he procured special shoes as suggested by the doctors.
The then Cyberabad police commissioner VC Sajjanar had helped him, Siva said and added that the Rotary Club in Guntur also coordinated with the blood banks en route to conduct camps wherever it was possible and he visited the Red Cross in districts to seek help for conducting camps. From Hyderabad, he went to Mumbai where he conducted a blood donation camp near the Mother Teresa Foundation office and got a chance to meet actor Sonu Sood, who also extended help to him.
When he completed 90 days of walkathon covering almost 3,000 km he also found a place in the Indian Book of Records. ater, he went to Gandhinagar in Gujarat on August 1 and from there he came to Vizag. The youngster said he was hoping to reach Delhi in two months where he wants to meet the PM to submit a representation to promote blood donation in colleges.