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The Borderline Drive - Spreading awareness of Public Stem Cell Banking

Prabha and Harsha Koda, a couple from Chennai, set off on a drive along the borders of India, to spread awareness on Public Stem Cell Banking. The drive was flagged off in Mumbai on the 4th of September 2011.

They are helping to create awareness on India's first public stem cell bank at Jeevan Blood Bank, Chennai. Jeevan is a not-for-profit organisation, enabling quick and affordable access to matching stem cells from donated umbilical cord blood for the treatment of Indian patients living globally, who suffer from blood cancers and Thalassemia. www.jeevan.org

During the first phase of the 26,000 km long, 75-day ‘driveathon’, the couple drove from Mumbai, up the coast and further west to touch the western-most point of India at Koteshwar in Gujarat. They continued driving along the Pakistan border through Rajasthan and Punjab, going north to Jammu and Kashmir and camping at the base of the Siachin glacier, at the village of Turtuk - considered the northern-most point of India, where civilains are allowed. They then drove over the snow clad Himalayas close to the Chinese-Tibetian border from Leh to Spiti, and along the Nepal border across Himachal, Uttarkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and the northeastern states of Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram, which saw them pass by the Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh borders and reaching the eastern-most point of India at Kibithoo.

On the journey back home they were on the drive down the east coast from Kolkata when they met with an unfortunate accident at the town of Jaleshwar, in Orissa, while trying to save about 5 people on an out-of-control motorised rickshaw. The accident resulted in Prabha sustaining severe injuries and their vehicle (a Mahindra Xylo, which they fondly refer to as Haliaetus) being badly damaged.

After recovering from those severe injuries, under the expert guidance of physiotherapists, thanks to good wishes from friends, the couple are back on their feet, fighting fit and ready to hit the road now! Starting from the exact point where the accident occured, they now drive down the east coast from Jaleshwar to Kanyakumari (the southern-most point of India) and up the west coast, along Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, and finally ending the driveathon where it began - in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Harsha and Prabha are creative professionals and work at their internet consultancy firm - Jalakara. They carry their laptops, and continue working on existing projects during their drives. Creating awareness on Stem Cell Therapy is a cause they strongly believe in, especially after having lost friends and family members to various cancers. They volunteer at Jeevan Blood Bank, Chennai, which is India's first public stem cell bank. Along The Borderline Drive, they also interact with other NGOs in the border areas, in an attempt at contributing to the empowerment of youth.

Avid driving and tourism enthusiasts, they have earlier covered over 4,00,000 km over their several trips, across the length and breadth of the country. “We meet different kinds of people, understand cultures better and even learn small secrets about the places visit,” they say, “The next step is to drive across borders, around the world!” This will be their longest drive ever, one that has never been attempted by anyone in the world. They have also written to the Guinness Book of World Records about this trip.
People can follow their journey on their blog (www.TheBorderlineDrive.com) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TheBorderlineDrive). They can be contacted at info@theborderlinedrive.com.

This driveathon has been sponsored in part by Mahindra & Mahindra, Bharat Petroleum,  Hammock Holidays, Michelin and Red Bull.

www.TheBorderlineDrive.com • www.facebook.com/TheBorderlineDrive

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