'It's increasingly important that those who can donate blood should do so before they get vaccinated'
'I don't want people to see me as just a footballer, but also as someone who wants to make a difference and aims to affect a change'
Known as much for his helping nature as his skills upfront, India footballer CK Vineeth has once again come to the aid of people hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and is urging everyone to do their bit.
As a deadly second wave of the pandemic rages across the country, Vineeth, using his social media presence, has come forward to help people in their hour of need.
"As a human being, I believe it must be in our nature to help others who are in need. Right now, I feel it's important to step in and do whatever I can," Vineeth, popularly referred to as CK, said.
"Over the years we have managed to build a community of football players, management staff, and supporters on social media, especially Twitter, that has grown exceptionally strong despite all the club rivalry."
"I felt I needed to join in and help -- in whatever small way possible," the Kerala-based SC East Bengal striker told the All India Football Federation (AIFF) website.
Apart from the oxygen requirements, blood banks have also appealed to citizens to donate before they get vaccinated. And the nimble-footed winger has urged everyone to come forward and assist in this drive.
"I think it's increasingly important that those who can donate blood should do so before they get vaccinated. Amidst the second wave, there's no doubt that there will be a shortage of blood and plasma in the blood banks in the coming months, as more and more people in younger age groups are all set to get vaccinated."
"The period after which a vaccinated person can donate blood is too long, and people need to understand that they can save lives by doing something as simple as visiting a blood bank," he said.
The forward from Kannur had made headlines last year when he was seen working as a volunteer at a COVID-19 helpline centre back home during the nationwide lockdown.
"I don't consider it as social work. I consider it my duty as a citizen to give back to our community that has given me so much over the years," CK said
"Throughout my career I have realised that I don't want people to see me as just a footballer, but also as someone who wants to make a difference and aims to affect a change in the mind-set of the community."
He also urged everyone to come and support each other in every way possible to help them fight the dreaded virus.
"What is happening on twitter is visible. But it's also equally important that we take care of people who may not have access to social media."
"Whether it is by calling up one another just to check in on them, looking out for our elderly neighbours who may need help but are scared to venture out, or taking care of animals on the streets during the lockdown -- there are so many different ways by which we can make a difference," he expressed.
"In the football community, some of us have only a few thousand followers, while others have over a million, but the truth is that every single call made or a tweet posted or shared makes a difference," he said.
Vineeth also urged people to speak up as and when necessary.
"If you spot someone not wearing a mask, tell them to. If you feel someone is making a wrong decision, let them know. The virus doesn't discriminate between the rich and poor or the young from the old," he said.