About six years ago on Dec 26, 2016, Kiran Verma, a native of Delhi, received a call for donating blood. He was told that the blood was required for a poor family from Raipur in Chhattisgarh.
However, the blood he donated voluntarily was sold to the family for ₹ 1,500, which Mr. Kiran came to know of when he met that family after donating blood. Mr. Kiran was moved by the plight of the family when he learnt that a woman in the family took to prostitution to pay the medical bills for her husband.
The incident no doubt disturbed Mr. Kiran, but at the same time strengthened his resolve to take up the cause of blood donation and thus, came the idea ‘Simply Blood,’ an initiative aimed at encouraging people to volunteer for blood donation. The same day he left his job with a goal to see that “nobody should die because of lack of blood in the country by 2025”. Recently, Mr. Kiran was at Sangareddy and he is on his way to Jogipet and then to Medak on Thursday, en route Karimnagar, Warangal and cities.
"There is huge black-marketing of blood in India. This harsh reality came to my notice when my own blood was sold to a poor family. Since 2017, I am walking to create awareness on blood donation. Many people are not coming forward to donate blood simply because they or their family members have never faced the problem of getting blood," explained Mr. Kiran.
"As a society, we have collectively failed to develop the culture of blood donation. We can see, after COVID regulations were relaxed, people standing in long queues before liquor shops, not at blood donation centres," he said adding that the country needs 15 million units of blood annually while only 10 million to 12 million units of blood is being collected.
Non-availability of blood is resulting in the death of about 12,000 people across the country every day on an average. With a steely resolve to encourage donors for another five million to six million units to overcome the shortages, he started his effort. So far, he has covered 7,600 kilometres in 107 districts.
Mr. Kiran has been running two programmes. Simply Blood – This is the world’s first virtual blood donation platform, connecting blood donors and seekers in real time (just like Uber) without charging anything from anyone. It was launched on January 29, 2017 and till date saved more than 35,000 lives through blood donation. Change With One Meal – This is another initiative where they serve unlimited meals for ₹ 10 in Delhi. More than four lakh people benefitted with the initiative till date.