Like many people across the globe, city-based Akash Kumbhar felt disturbed and helpless as he followed the news of the devastating earthquake in Nepal which took thousands of lives and left many homeless and injured.
Kumbhar has been paralysed waist down since the last nine years, but he wanted to reach out to the earthquake victims. “I have been reading that many individuals and organisations from Pune have travelled to Nepal to help the the affected. Since I cannot do that due to my physical limitations, I decided to do it in my own way,” said the 31-year-old Kumbhar.
On May 3, with the help of his walker, Kumbhar will cover a distance of 3.5 km across Pune and collect funds from the passers-by for the earthquake-affected families in Nepal.
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His three-hour walk will begin from Khandoji Baba Chowk and will end at Deccan Gymkhana bus stop, covering FC Road, Tukaram Paduka Chowk and Balgandharva Chowk on the way. “Lets see how much I can collect. From my side, I will be contributing Rs 3,000,” he said, adding that the collected fund would go to city-based NGO Jankalyan Samiti to be used for the cause.
It is not the first time that Kumbhar has reached out to distressed people.
In 2013, he had covered a distance of 233 km from Kolhapur to Pune on a wheelchair in eight days and collected a fund of Rs 24,600 for the drought-affected in Maharashtra. Last year, when he was felicitated by a local organisation in the city with Rs 24,000, he passed on Rs 18,000 to an NGO collecting funds for the Marathwada farmers.
In 2006, Kumbhar had a near-fatal road accident that left him bedridden for five years. After consulting several doctors, specialists and hospitals in various parts of the country, his health improved slightly. Though his body, from below the waist, had no sensation or movement, he could move his hands and could move with a walker.
In 2012, he participated in the Pune International Marathon and covered 42.195 km in 12 days. He broke his own record in 2014 when he covered the same distance in just seven days.