On a mission to promote blood donation, meet the man walking 21,000 km across India

A man is on a mission – the mission to walk a distance of 21,000 km on foot, but not just for the sake of walking or completing a marathon. He is doing this for a noble cause. 

Let us introduce you to this person – Kiran Verma. He is on a mission to encourage ‘blood donation’ across India. However, this idea did not come to his mind overnight.

He understands the pain

Verma has gone through conditions that led him to understand the importance of blood donation at a very early age.

He was just five when he first heard about blood donation. His mother was battling cancer, and he continuously witnessed his father struggle to arrange blood for her mother. At the age of seven, Verma lost her mother, someone who was very close to his heart. 

Again, about seven years ago, on December 26, 2016, Verma received a call to donate blood to a poor family in Raipur. After donating his blood, he discovered that the family had to pay for it. When he met the family, he learned they were facing financial difficulties, and the woman had to turn to prostitution to pay for her husband’s medical expenses. This moved Kiran Verma and made him empathize with their situation.

Verma said there is widespread black-marketing of blood in India, which became known when the speaker’s blood was sold to a poor family; in an interview with The Hindu. Since 2017, Verma has been walking to spread awareness about blood donation. He observed that many individuals are hesitant to donate blood because they or their family members have never encountered issues obtaining blood. These instances strengthened his will to stand up for a cause.

Further, Verma has been running two programs, Simply Blood and Change With One Meal. 

  • Simply Blood is a virtual blood donation platform that connects blood donors and seekers in real-time, similar to Uber, without charging any fees. This platform has already saved over 35,000 lives through blood donation. 
  • On the other hand, Change With One Meal is another initiative that serves unlimited meals for just ₹10 in Delhi. This program has already benefited over four lakh people.

Our society is in dire need of people like Verma. The thing to consider is why we need to raise awareness for blood donation.

The need 

In India, an estimated 1 in 10 patients admitted to a hospital requires blood, but only a fraction of this demand is being met due to low donation rates. Moreover, blood donation is crucial in India for several reasons:

  • Medical emergencies: Blood transfusions are required to save patients’ lives with emergencies such as accidents, surgeries, and illnesses.
  • Blood disorders: Individuals with blood disorders such as thalassemia and haemophilia require frequent blood transfusions to manage their condition.
  • Shortages: India often faces a blood shortage due to limited blood donations. Regular blood donation can help ensure that enough blood is available when needed.
  • Natural disasters: In natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods, blood donations are critical to saving the lives of those affected.
  • Voluntary donation: Blood donation is an act of compassion and kindness that can potentially save someone’s life, making it a noble and selfless act.

It is important to raise awareness, educate the public, and provide incentives to encourage blood donation. One effective method is to organize blood donation drives in schools, colleges, offices, and community centres. These events can motivate people to donate blood by providing a convenient location and a sense of community involvement. 

It is also important to address common myths and misconceptions about blood donation, such as the belief that it is painful or that it can lead to health problems. Offering small incentives such as refreshments, certificates, or discounts on medical check-ups can also motivate potential donors.

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