On January 29, 2017, Delhi-based Kiran Verma launched ‘Simply Blood’ as the World’s First Virtual Blood Donation Platform under the Change With One Foundation, a non-profit organisation started by him. Kiran has travelled over 16,000 kms — covering more than 4,500 kms on foot — to encourage blood donation across India, Nepal and Bhutan. He named this ‘Change With One Walk’. Simply Blood has been selected as one of the eight Social Start-ups by Bangalore-based N/Core Foundation backed by CISCO Systems out of 713 applications, where Simply Blood will go for a 6-month incubation to reach its mission. On World Blood Donation Day, Team Optimist spoke to him. An excerpt…
Team Optimist: How did you come up with ‘Simply Blood’, the world’s first virtual blood donation platform?
Kiran Verma: In Dec 2016, I realised that my blood was being sold in the black market. There was no platform that could help donors stop back marketing of blood so, I decided to create a platform that can work without sharing any personal information and stop people from commercialising the sale of blood.
Team Optimist: When did you first donate blood? What was the occasion?
Kiran Verma: I donated blood for the first time in 2003 to one of my teachers, who was fighting kidney problems. My intention was just to get some brownie points from the teacher and get internal marks. But after donating blood, I realised that I’d done something good unintentionally.
Team Optimist: Your name has been epitomized with the ‘Change With One Walk’ campaign. Tell us how you organised such an inspiring journey, covering more than 16,000 km.
Kiran Verma: In May 2017, I donated blood to a boy named Mayank. He was fighting cancer and wanted to become a computer engineer. But in August 2017, I came to know that he had died while waiting for blood donors in Delhi. During his last moments, he bled from his eyes, nose and ears. I was expecting my first baby and I thought that my baby should not die like this. Everybody should have the right to die with dignity. There are millions of potential blood donors in Delhi, but nobody came forward to donate, because of sheer lack of awareness. I decided to spread awareness and talk to people about blood donation. I met thousands of people and this walk encouraged hundreds or may be thousands of people to come forward and donate blood.
Team Optimist: As a person, concerned with blood donation, what do you think are the major hurdles in creating mass awareness for this cause?
Kiran Verma: Laziness and ignorance among people are making the situation critical. A blood donor is free to go and donate blood at any blood bank. We have enough young and healthy donors to fulfil the need, but lack of awareness stops potential donors to reach out to blood banks and do their bit.
Team Optimist: What has been your most memorable experience in the journey of ‘Simply Blood’?
Kiran Verma: There are many, but the most memorable one was when we got a blood donation request from Pakistan and we helped the patients get donors within hours, sitting in my bedroom. That was the time I realised the potential of our platform and received love from Pakistan.
Team Optimist: What are your plans regarding Simply Blood? What measures do you think the Indian Government can come up with to raise concern for voluntary blood donation?
Kiran Verma: We’re committed to solving the blood shortage problem in India by December 31, 2025, by encouraging enough volunteers to donate blood. The government can support us by understanding our mission and vision.
Team Optimist: Today is World Blood Donation Day. What is your advice to the young generation regarding this?
Kiran Verma: It takes just a few minutes and one can save three lives. Just come forward and do your part.
Who can donate blood?
- A donor must be fit and healthy
- Should not be suffering from transmittable diseases
- Must be between 18 and 65 years of age
- Must weigh at least 50 kg
- Haemoglobin count should be minimum 12.5
- There should be a gap of over 3 months between two successive donations