SITIAWAN: MEDICAL practitioner Dr Ghantan Palanisamy, 26, walked the length of Peninsular Malaysia, from Bukit Kayu Hitam in the north to Johor Baru in the south, for 28 days to raise awareness of the need for organ donation.
Equipped with a notebook computer, mobile phone, personal documents and other bare necessities in a lightweight backpack, his expedition covered 1,000km.
He walked an average of 40km a day, in the sun and rain. Along the way, he distributed 2,000 organ pledge forms and collected 600 signed pledges.
Dr Ghantan, who is attached to Hospital Manjung, near here, said he chose to walk because it was a healthy way to travel and a pleasant way to forge bonds with people.
"I am able to reach out to far more people by doing so. I can also collect more donor pledges and help remove the stigma and doubts associated with organ donation," said Dr Ghantan.
Since he is a resident of Pantai Remis, Perak, it was only natural for him to take a route through his hometown and make a stopover at Sitiawan.
He was greeted by a small group from Yayasan Bina Upaya Perak and given a rousing welcome by the members of the MIC Lumut Division Youth Wing, led by division chief V. Elango.
The following day, Dr Ghantan, his brother Rajan, 23, and his friend Dravinder Singh, 24, continued the walk through Teluk Intan.
On their long trip, they spent 60 per cent of their time on trunk roads and 40 per cent on highways. They slept under bridges, at bus stops, bridges, highway rest areas, budget hotels and in people's houses.
The trio ended their walk at the Johor Baru Customs Complex where some 25 people walked with them for six kilometres to Dataran Bandaraya for the closing ceremony, which was organised by Rotary Club members, the staff of the National Transplant Resource Centre (NTRC) and Sultan Aminah Hospital.
On arrival, they were greeted by some 400 members of the public who had heard about their mission. NTRC director Datin Lela Mansor presided over the event.