431 came as devotees, left as organ donors

Oct 01, 2012, 06:19 IST | Naveen Nair

Several mandals organised lectures and registration booths to encourage organ donation this year, and Ganpati's followers didn't disappoint them

Apart from pulling off their customarily grand celebrations in honour of Lord Ganpati, a few mandals in the city went a step further this year and did something for those most in need of Bappa’s blessings. These mandals educated devotees about organ donation, and even encouraged them to pledge their organs on the holy occasion. 

Keeping the faith: A devotee who turned donor proudly receives her card from mandal members

Their efforts seem to have paid off, with over 400 devotees registering themselves for organ donation in course of Ganeshotsav.

The uncertainty faced by the increasing number of people in urgent need of organs is often compounded by the paucity of donors.

Keeping this in mind, mandals requested their members and devotees to come forward and pledge their organs in an effort to save lives, and were helped in their efforts by the Zonal Transplant Co-ordination Centre.

While members of Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal had set themselves a modest target of registering 100 organ donors this Ganeshotsav, they were overwhelmed by the response when over 200 donors registered themselves at their mandal. To ensure that the spirit of giving doesn’t die out with the end of the festivities, they are still welcoming registrations and have pledged to continue with the awareness programme.

Organisers at the Bal Gopal Mitra mandal also chose organ donation as the social issue that they support in simultaneity with the festivities. According to mandal members, they conducted thorough research before organising awareness lectures and registering people for organ donation. Several devotees voluntarily came forward to donate their organs after attending these lectures.

At Parsiwadi Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav mandal, which also made it their cause to encourage organ donation, the authorities declared 88
registrations from devotees who are not members of the mandal.

Their secretary claimed that members of the mandal who have donated their organs believe that it is their responsibility to do so and do not want to be counted.

Sujata Ashtake, coordinator, ZTCC, said, “Ganeshotsav proves to be an excellent medium to reach the masses and create awareness about any issue. These mandals came forward with a suggestion to hold organ donation awareness and also register interested devotees. We supported them in their initiative and also held awareness lectures informing people to register only if they are genuinely interested. We also instructed these mandals not to enforce anything on the masses. Our motive was to get genuine registrations, no matter what the number. We have received a great response.”

Success stories

We have recorded a total of 228 registrations in 11 days and we are going to continue with the registrations. Following the death of our former CM Vilasrao Deshmukh due to multiple organ failure we decided to create awareness about organ donation
— Ravi Surve, chief secretary, Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal

We have registered a total of 115 donors and possibly 25-30 will enroll by tomorrow. We are thankful to all the donors for helping us in our initiative
— Vijay Naykude, secretary, Bal Gopal Mitra mandal, Vile Parle

We initially decided to only hold awareness lectures and put up placards at our mandal. Later, with the help of ZTCC we set up a registration desk allowing devotees to pledge their organs. We have registered 88 voluntary donors who were genuinely interested in donating their organs. Most of these donors belonged to the age group of 30-50 years.
— Harishchanda Sharma, president, Parsiwadi Sarvanjanik Ganeshotsav mandal

Donors speak
I registered myself for organ donation at Bal Gopal Mitra mandal this year. I was initially hesitant to donate my organs but after attending the awareness lecture I was convinced about the positive aspects of it. I, along with a few friends went and registered and acquired the donor cards. I feel proud to be an organ donor now.
— Sachin Shigwan, (29), Vile Parle resident

One of my relatives recently underwent a kidney transplant and we had a hard time trying to locate a donor for her. When I learnt of the initiative undertaken by the Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal I decided to donate my organs. I want to be of help to a needy person after my death.
— Ganesh Tawde, (42), Wadala resident

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