Though India has declared itself polio-free nation, there are chances that it can spread among unvaccinated children, so to make sure that no child is left Behind, Global Polio Eradication Initiative, spearheaded by Rotary International, with support from the government of India and various state governments is running pulse polio campaign.
Under this campaign there are thousands of people who work for polio vaccination and awareness, among them there is Satish Kumar, a member of Rotary club, who undertook a solo bicycle ride all the way from Chennai to Thimphu (Bhutan), in order to spread awareness about polio vaccination to local population along the way.
From being an IT professional to a cyclist
Satish (28), who is a native of Chennai, is a travel enthusiast, and an IT professional who had worked in the IT sector for 4 years.
Last year, he completed a solo bicycle ride from Chennai to Delhi with the tagline #FearTheRoutine to inspire people who work their 9 to 5 job to follow their passion. For this, he was invited as a Guard of Honour by the Little Flower Matriculation higher secondary school, Ashok Nagar, for the Independence day celebrations and to give a motivational speech to the students. This was the school where he did his schooling till class 10th.
The person who invited him was the Director of the school and also a Rotarian, he introduced him to Rotary club and told him that if he wanted to something good for the society, Rotary club will help him. Then, Rotary club and Satish planned his trip from Chennai to Bhutan to create awareness on polio. Funds for it were raised by Rotary Club through donation.
Traveled 3232 Km on Bicycle
It took Satish 45 days to complete 3232 Km journey, which was recently concluded in May. He navigated through various cities and states along the way, including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, a little bit of Bihar and then into Bhutan. Along the way, he met members of 33 Rotary clubs, 10 schools & colleges, interacted with 1000+ students, and talked to common people and told them the importance of immunisation against polio.
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Chennai to Bhutan Solo Cycling #EndPolio Campaign Rtn. Sathish Kumar rode from Chennai to Bhutan 3232 kms for spreading awareness about World Peace and #EndPolioNow Day 37: Mar 31st: Sunday Rtn. Sathish Kumar met with Rotary club of Thimphu president Rtn. Tsewang Rinzing and had the respective Rotary club flag exchange at Thimphu, Bhutan. Rotary International District 3292. Next in the pic is Rotary Thimphu office Secretary Ms. Tshering Choden. Special thanks to Rotary club of Thimphu RID 3292 President Rtn. Tsewang Rinzing and Secretary Rtn. Yeshey Dorji for assisting Rtn. Sathish Kumar get the entry permit at Phuentsholing, Bhutan couple of days ago. Rtn. Sathish Kumar Rotary club of Chennai Korattur RID 3232 #WorldPeace #RotaryInternational #BeTheInspiration #RotaryKorattur #Rotary88181 #FearTheRoutine #RCThimphu #Bhutan #RotaryClubofThimphu #RID3292 #District3292 #RotaryThimphu #Rotary3292 #RotaryClub #FlagExchange @rotaryinternational #proudrotarian #RotaryIndia
On being asked, what prompted him to do this? He said, “The ill effects of Polio are that it could make people Paralyze. I thought when I was a child 25 years back, I was given this polio vaccine and because of it, I am healthy and active today. I am able to travel to places and pursue my dream. So, I immediately thought that we should do this to spread awareness about Polio and help eradicate it from the whole world.”
Satish further said that during the journey he saw a tremendous amount of positivity from local peoples, especially rotary members. By seeing their hospitality and their dedication to give back to the community is astounding.
People were helpful, along the way
Regarding the general public, he said, “People on the road have been very humble and compassionate. Once in a place where I was taking rest under a shade due to hot weather, two children came from nowhere and gave me a mineral water bottle and then went away. It was as if God had sent them. I had around 5 flat tyres in my journey and during one such event on the day of Holi, I was crossing Santiniketan, Kolkata, where a local voluntarily came to support and took my bicycle on his rickshaw along with me to the nearby the repair shop. I felt truly loved by their actions and efforts.”
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Day 17: 11th March 2019: Monday: Rtn. Sathish Kumar riding from Chennai to Bhutan 3232 kms for World Peace and #EndPolioNow Berhampur, Odisha to Balugaon, Odisha via Chatrapur. Facilitated by PDG Rtn. Narayan Mishra and other Rotarians RID 3262 Home Club Rotary club of Berhampur Central. Also, had media coverage about EndPolioNow campaign happened this morning. #WorldPeace #RotaryInternational #Rotary #NationalImmunisationDay #NID #PolioDrops #ChennaiToBhutan #Andhrapradesh #Odisha #Orissa #India #Monday #EndPolio #RID3232 #RID3262 #Rotary88181 #BeTheInspiration #FearTheRoutine #Berhampur #Brahmapur #Chatrapur #Barkul #Balugaon #Balagaon
Plans to cycle around the world
He now plans to cycle around the world especially from India to Europe, and the African continent, with an aim to spread cancer Awareness around the world, and plans to do a fundraising for helping cancer victims and help people to know more about the disease. He says, “The main concern regarding awareness is that many people come to know that they are affected by cancer only in the 3rd stage or 4th stage of cancer. Diagnosing it early can save a lot of lives.”
Satish said that my main source of inspiration is Mr Ganapathy Suresh, who rightly suggested me to take up Polio awareness and today I am very proud that I did something for the society.
To sustain his family, he is currently working as a freelance digital marketer and at the same time, he is looking for a full-time opportunity in the travel industry to make a career for himself and also to pursue his passion to travel.
Satish has a message to all, that there is a lot of positivity present in the world. So, please spend less time in front of your PC or smartphone and go for real human interactions. Our lives and society is based out of love, I encourage people to interact with others and to get to know each other and how we can be of any help to someone. When they feel compassionate about someone else then automatically we feel loved, I realized this when I traveled and met people during my polio awareness and world peace campaign.