GUNTUR: To increase awareness on blood donation, 24-year-old Gandu Siva from Guntur undertook a 7,000-km walkathon across the country. He started the walkathon from Kanyakumari on April 1 and completed it in Delhi last week.
He interacted with people and educated them in 22 states including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Kolkata, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab.
Siva was also recognised by the India Book of Records in August this year for his commitment to educate the society to promote the importance of blood donation.
During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Siva's sister had suffered complications and was in desperate need of blood but was unable to get it. Following this incident, the youngster realised how important it is for one to donate blood so that some one in need can get it in time. So, he began walking to educate people on the need for donating blood.
"Irrespective of rural and urban areas, many people are still superstitious and have misconceptions about donating blood. Even though people are ready to donate clothes, food, and other necessities to the people, they are not coming forward to donate blood which is more important as it cannot be produced in any lab. So, my goal is that any person should be able to get blood when they are in need," he said.
With the coordination of the Red Cross Society, Lion's Club, local help groups, and police departments, Siva has conducted more than 300 blood donation camps at hospitals, colleges, and collected one lakh units of blood so far.
"My family has been very supportive through all this. My father, Chimpiraiah, encouraged me to continue even though he has been facing financial issues at home due to crop damage. Their confidence gave me that extra push," he says.