Doctor on cycling mission from Kashmir to Kerala

Former international president of Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) Dr. Unni Karunakara on Saturday set out on a 100-day cycling mission to create awareness about health issues and to raise funds.

He began his 5,000-km Kashmir to Kerala odyssey at Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences here. The doctor will pedal through 64 cities, towns and villages spread over 10 States.

He describes the journey, called the ‘Unnicycles Tour’, as an awareness campaign about medical humanitarian action and to raise money for the people in need of health care all over the world.

As a medical intern in India in 1988, he had biked from Delhi to Leh and from Srinagar to Delhi.

“I dreamed, one day, to ride from one end of India to the other. Twenty five years later, I can fulfil this dream and combine it with my other passion, which is to connect with people and learn from each other,” Dr. Karunakara said.

He had a word of advice for medical students in the valley. “You do not have to get on a plane and travel to Africa to be a humanitarian. All you need is to be aware of what is happening in your society and how you can be of help.”

Dr. Karunakara will be joined by other riders including Canadian Olympic silver medallist Helen Upperton and Indian poet and author Jeet Thayil. Dr. Karunakara ended his three-year term as the international president of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning organisation on October 1. — PTI




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