Sunday, October 16, 2016
Dear Friends, well-wishers, special greetings to all #spbm2016 event organizers, sponsors and the special community for which all marathons events are made for – the Runners.
Yesterday was certainly a very special day for the Bengaluru City since it witnessed one of the largest marathon events, the Bengaluru Marathon or simply #SPBM206. I too participated in the Full Marathon category as part of my 16th week running campaign #424242runningto raise the awareness on the importance of first-aid & CPR training, and Road Safety.
This event was a considered to be a grand success while attracting 15,000 enthusiastic participants from Namma City Bangaluru and also from various other cities. The organizers and the sponsors have really spent night and day in executing a massive event like this. It was amazing to witness the spirit of running, the sheer number of growing running community with their supporters buzzing on the streets of the usually busy Bengaluru Streets. Many first timers had made an important mark in their life with a first 5k or a half marathon or even a full marathon participation. Many runners (easy and the serious types) also had achieved their PB (personal bests). There was also a huge community of volunteers cheering and supporting several specially challenged people including blind runners. The event also witnessed few missing their target time by few seconds but walking away with huge amount of learning experience. The number of Facebook & Twitter Posts, blog posts with colorful pictures speak volume about the planning, perseverance, hard-work that went into making this day a special one in one’s life. The event ended in a big fanfare with celebrations and loud music that rocked the entire Sree Kanteerva Stadium.
Congratulations for being part of this memorable and lifelong health, fitness and fun journey.
While the extended running and sports community was celebrating in one part of this beautiful Garden city, there were few who went through certain hardships due to the blocked roads and diverted traffic in the Bangaluru city.
The city commuters were paying a huge price to accommodate this running event. The traffic was thrown out of spin in certain areas and one could witness impatient and irate motorists at various places.
After crossing the 20th kilometer mark, I was about to reach the Domlur flyover. One of the familiar runners drew my attention and said "Kannan, there is an accident". I looked further on the road and saw a small group of people in the median somewhere in the middle of the flyover. The one side of the flyover was having a traffic pile up, presumably due to the accident, with many curious motorists rubbernecking the accident scene. The right side of the flyover leading up to the Inner Ring Road had runners going and also returning after the loop at Sony World signal. I sprinted towards the group.
After reaching the crowd what I saw was shocking. There was a young man sitting in the median crying out in pain. There was a pool of blood next to his right leg on the median. He was seriously injured. I found that someone had already attempted to tie his leg with a towel. In the first sight I could tell that the right First-aid was missing. I loudly said to the crowd that I was a trained first responder and requested them to first clear that place. Also requested one more fellow runner who came to help to support the victims head, asked the man to lie down and I made an attempt to keep his leg elevated to control the bleeding. I also made an attempt to apply pressure on the towel to control the bleeding and also lift his leg – that’s when I found that his leg was completely shattered and I could feel the shattered bones moving inside and his feet was dangling awkwardly. I realized that was not helping him and he was screaming out of pain. I also found that the bystanders, some race volunteers and people who were wanting to help him had already called for an Ambulance. There was a traffic cop talking on the phone and also was attempting to manage the traffic.
I tried to assess his injury and found that his foot was ripped open in multiple places and some of the bones were visible. There were blood everywhere and the scene was horrific. He had some head injury (later found that his helmet had protected him – but unfortunately the visor had pierced through his forehead). He also had multiple injuries on his right hand fingers. Looking at this man’s condition, I only prayed to the God to give him the best courage to go through this grueling experience. With a gentle pressure on the towel around his right injured foot, and with his leg held above his heart level, the bleeding was slowing down. The other runner was helping to calm him and was holding his head in support. Everyone in the scene was attempting to comfort to him and provide strength. I asked for his name and also given him assurances that he was doing great and it was all temporary. Kiran, the young victim, was under too much panic and he had already started making calls to his Mom and Dad to inform about his condition. He was under severe pain and crying.
A few moments before, Kiran was actually caught by surprise and thrown out of his bike, fell down and run over by a fully loaded tempo with cooking gas cylinders. This was a bad accident and this wasn’t a great day for him.
I was shouting to get a thick cardboard or book or newspaper to immobilize the leg. At that middle of the road unfortunately there wasn’t anything of that sort available. Within the next 5 mins I heard the Ambulance siren and then came the Ambulance dashing in. The ambulance had only the driver and there was no paramedic or any other trained personal to attend an emergency situation like this. The driver had a good heart to drive and carry victims. He did not seem to have been trained on first-aid. There was no first-aid kit, no gloves (my hand, hip pouch and my running shorts were socking blood) or any material to support and to stabilize the victim. It would be a dishonor if we had to call this vehicle an Ambulance. The few positive things that were seen in that situation were, the people out there to support, the comforting feeling of seeing a working Ambulance, a stretcher and a driver with a great heart.
I was holding Kiran’s leg. With the help of few men around, I got inside the ambulance first, we coordinated the movements with the stretcher shifted Kiran inside. While still holding his leg in an attempt stabilize, I sat deep inside the ambulance with my back resting on the wall/glass window right behind the driver. The ambulance door was shut.
Even under that chaotic situation, there was a brief moment of silence inside the ambulance. I felt the darkness and loneliness combined with anxiety and fear. It was just Kiran and myself inside that Ambulance. In that brief moment of silence I heard the Ambulance engine firing, it took some time for me to realize that Kiran’s leg was not yet stabilized and I was only supporting it with my hand. This was not at all a great idea. I was jolted left and right with the sudden movement. This was causing excruciating pain for Kiran. I was cursing myself for not able to help him to stabilize the injured leg before moving. I was actually hurting Kiran further. The ambulance door suddenly opened and I found someone throwing both my running campaign boards inside. I just remembered that I was carrying them all through my campaign since morning and while supporting Kiran someone removed it from my back. I also felt guilty for not able to use them as props for stabilizing Kiran. I started shouting continuously and asked the driver to go slowly without causing too much of movement. He immediately obliged. Within the next few moments I managed to carefully keep Kiran's leg supported over my stomach and thighs. He was calming down. His phone was continuously ringing and I had to snatch it away from him and asked him to calm down, assured him that he was the strongest man I had ever seen.
Within minutes the ambulance reached the Manipal Hospital and came to a stop. The door was opened and I continuously was shouting the security who was assisting to get the emergency staff or a doctor. The ER staff was put in action and within the next few minutes they moved him inside, connected with the devices to monitor and stabilize him. Finally the curtains were pulled and I came out of that ER room. My body was stinking with metal with blood all over me.
Within the next 30 minutes Kiran’s parents arrived in that place and I was having a big sigh of relief. My head was throbbing with ache, a moment of satisfaction, a sense of anger, helplessness and I decided to sit there in the emergency room bench for few minutes. I heard a sweet voice “Sir, would you like to have some water” – It was amazing to see a nursing staff saw me and offered me some water. I thanked her and also came to know from her that she saw me running somewhere on the course while she was coming to the hospital. She also advised me to clean the blood stains with soap and offered me sterile bandage.
Since the situation was under control, I decided to leave that place. I spoke to Kiran’s Dad and brother and given them assurance that Kiran would be alright. His Dad was in tears and gave me a hug.
If only there were no accidents – Even though this wasn’t the experience that I wanted to go through – especially on my Road Safety awareness campaign, I was thanking God for giving me the courage to provide the support yesterday. I also thanked the God for sending everyone at that place at the right time to provide the best possible support to Kiran.
After spending about 45 minutes in the hospital I decided to head back and complete the marathon. It was completely a strange experience for me since this was the first time I had the experience of running last in a marathon course. But with confidence and vigor I was sprinting back to the Domlur Flyover and got into the Inner Ring Road towards Sony World junction. There were few marathon route volunteers recognized me and enquired about Kiran’s well-being. From that point on wards the water points were closed and the red traffic cones were being removed by the volunteers. At the loop back point the timing mat was about to be removed but I managed to sprint through that with a relief that I was on track to finishing the run well within the time allotted by the organizers. I also filled up my Camelback with 2-3 liters of energy drink, picked some biscuits and oranges to stock to finish the remaining 18 kms without worrying about fuel/hydration.
I entered the stadium after spending 6 hrs and 27 minutes on the course including the time spent attending to Kiran.
This will certainly be an unique marathon event – this will stay in my memory for life long.
At the finish line I met the race organizers and spoke about this incident and requested for a support. The initial reaction was that this was an incident occurred outside the race area and no runner was involved. I also mentioned that may be this accident wouldn’t have happened if the race did not happen on this day. I was having very little hopes when I received an assurance to look at this case after the event was over.
I spent some time interacting with many runners and their family at the finish line and also distributed the Orange and Yellow safety cards but couldn’t really stand there for a longer time since I was mentally exhausted from this experience. I left Sree Kanteerva stadium and headed back to my Brothers home.
After returning back home in the evening, I spoke to Kiran’s Dad and brother to understand their background and their financial conditions. I somehow felt that I had some moral obligation to support this family since such events provides a safe platform for all the runners to experience running safely inside the city environment. I decided to setup a crowd funding platform in Ketto and reach out to all my contacts. Since yesterday, I’ve sent around 100+ personal emails, sent many tweets and SMS messages, and also made several phone calls to my friends to provide support to Kiran.
It was simply amazing to find that this campaign, in less than 24 hrs, has already received attention and more than 20 people have contributed. The total contribution as of 18-Oct-2016 at 8.30 am stands to Rs. 44,700 + Rs. 5,000 in cash to be collected. I’m simply thrilled by this support and the spirit of people to help.
Yesterday evening, Kiran's Dad confirmed that they have already filed an FIR with the police. I spoke to the Manipal Hospital Ortho team and found that Kiran is expected to undergo a plastic surgery today/tomorrow to reconstruct his leg.
I’m glad to know that today already some of the running buddies and well-wishers have reached out to the Shriram Properties Bengaluru Marathon organizers and sought their support. I’m hoping this comes through too.
My humble request to each one of you to contribute little for this cause. I'm sure money alone can't bring back someones shattered legs. But the hope to get back to normal is really needed to be high and let each one of us be part of Kiran's life journey, wish him good luck for his ambitions, a responsible citizen and to become an IAS officer one day.
Please consider this as a humble personal request and pour your contributions.
Please share this post to as many people as you can to reach the target of raising Rs. 5,00,000/- (~7500 USD). Please demonstrate that as runners we show the spirit of sportsman ship in the sport as well as outside. Show the entire world that we all respect other human being by providing a tiny support in whatever possible manner.
Join me and the entire Sahaya LRTS team. Lets Raise the Spirits of Kiran and his family.
Finally - my humble request for each one of you to get trained on First-Aid and CPR - I do organize this course through my personal initiative and the yet to formally setup Sahaya-Lets Raise the Spirits NGO. I partner with Alert - We Care to connect with the community to provide first-aid and CPR training. These skills will teach you to be confident and to attend to any emergency situation. These skills will make you a situational leader to drive such difficult situations that we come across in our every day life.
Be Safe! Be there to Safe!
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