Mangaluru: It was on October 9, 2021, that Melvin Thomas, a native of Wayanad District in Kerala, set off his walk from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. His walk was made noteworthy by his social message of “Donate Blood, Donate Life,” which he promoted throughout his journey.
After completing a journey of over 3,800 kilometres in 118 days, Melvin arrived in Jammu on the evening of February 3. On his way, he was noticed and greeted by blood donors and other organisations.
Speaking to NewsKarnataka Melvin said, “I am basically from a farmer’s family. We had a business named Ginger Trading. After completing my course in filmmaking from Neo Film School in Kochi, I joined the business with my father.”
When asked about why he opted to walk he said, “Travelling has always been something I have wanted to do. I have never travelled so far, and I have not even been outside Kerala. Travelling by foot from Kanyakumari to Kashmir was certainly a challenge. Initially, I thought of doing it via train. I decided to walk and I thought why not do it by promoting a social cause encouraging people to donate blood. That is how I started my journey.”
He further said that he has been donating blood for the past five years. “When I went to donate the last time, they told me that even common blood was in short supply owing to Covid. So, I decided to try something new along with my walk,” he remarked.
When asked if he ever thought of quitting the walk, he said that he never felt compelled to end the walk. He was able to walk 30 to 35 kilometres per day. “I developed blisters as a result of my continuous walking. After this, I was unsure if I would be able to finish it. It was painful one day, and I couldn’t walk properly. The blisters healed after a month. I guess blisters finally gave up and I continued with my walk! Apart from that, I didn’t have any health problems,” he expressed.
Melvin further explained that he was on his own for the first 500 kilometres. “I slept in a tent at petrol pump, bus stops, and other locations. When I arrived in Kozhikode, blood donation workers recognised me and helped me till I reached Kasaragod. Meva Singh afterwards assisted with the stay by using his contacts,” he added.
To a question, if language barrier caused any problem he said, “Initially, language was a problem. But when I was in Maharashtra, I was somehow able to understand and speak Hindi.”
Melvin also said that people have been overwhelmingly supportive, and some have even invited him to their homes for accommodation, food etc.
Melvin’s return journey was made by bicycle, and he covers about 80 km per day with halts. “I came across a video of a man from Kerala travelling to the US in his bicycle. That inspired me, and I thought to myself, “If they can do it, why can’t I?” That is how I decided to return by bicycle,” he said.
“My message to readers is to donate blood and help save lives. We will be able to get it only if we donate it. Blood cannot be produced in any other way,” said Melvin.
When Melvin reached Bengaluru, he was felicitated by LionsBloodLine of Lions Club of Bangalore in Sanjaynagar at Lions Bhavan on Wednesday March 23 at 4.00 pm. Other blood banks and those promoting blood donation were present at the event.