Almost everyone will agree that road trips are fun and the sense of adventure related to it send an adrenaline rush, right through our bodies. Planning trips to Leh and Ladakh have been a part of every college gang’s discussion at one point of time, without taking into consideration whether it materialises or not. But travelling with a chronic kidney disorder to raise awareness for a grave social cause, doesn’t really seem to be most of our cup of tea, isn’t it?
A professional dancer from Bengaluru Lourd Vijay has been doing the same, travelling across the country, that too for a cause. He is going through an arduous 9400 KM long journey, crossing nine cities across the country. Driven by the motivation to raise awareness about organ donation, this Guinness Book Record holder Lourd, has already covered cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Jaipur, Ludhiana, Pathankot, Srinagar, Kargil and is currently at Leh.
This drive will cover other cities like Hyderabad, Agra and will come to an end on September 21. This drive is a part of a campaign by the Spreading Hope Foundation. Spreading Hope Foundation is a two-month old organisation started by Lourd to create awareness about organ donation. It was set up to create a bank of ten million people in the next five years, who would pledge their organs willingly and with accountability.
Last year, Vijay went through a kidney transplant after suffering from a prolonged chronic kidney disease. The kidney transplant was a second chance that life had given him. This is when the realisation to do something for the cause of organ donation dawned upon him. He took it to the roads, by starting off a journey to spread awareness.
Through the journey, the idea was to create positive awareness among people about the organisation and to eradicate the stigma related to it. When The Logical Indian asked him, why didn’t he take recourse of social media to promote the cause, he said, “Social media has its own set of limitations when it comes to reaching out to a large number of audience. We thought of taking up the journey in order to talk to more people and help figure out the mental blockages that mostly are related to organ donation. We are focussing at the ground level, right now. We wanted to get a clearer picture about organ donation in the country. Previously, I was baffled at the monstrous amount of work that needed to be done in this case. But, as of now, I know there are many other organisations championing this cause”
Through Spreading Hope Foundation, Lourde aims to cover 13 cities, 17 towns and 18 villages in 40 days. The motive is to engage with educational, healthcare, corporate and governmental institutions and motivate them to join and support his cause. They are travelling with a team of four and are also creating a documentary of their journey.
It all began with Vijay signing up as an organ donor, twenty years back and his parents were extremely supportive of it. The dancer who also runs a popular studio said he had to wait for over two years to get a donor. If there is a steady supply of donors, this would bring an end to the dearth of organs for the ones who are really in need. If more and more people register and pledge organ donation, it would help many ailing patients to get the chance to live again.
“Why waste organs by simply cremating or burying the body when you can help someone in need? Donating an organ is the best form of Karma you can indulge in. One human being can save up to eight lives, via donation,” Vijay said. “In Marina beach, Chennai, we met a few local fishermen. Even they knew about organ donation and were completely okay with the idea. This points out to the fact that the stigma lies with the privileged section of the society, more commonly known as upper-caste,” Vijay added.
Almost 1.5 lakh people lose their lives to accidental deaths every year in India and there is hardly any infrastructure to work with organ donation. Vijay is aiming to create a large base of donors who can gradually help the ones in need of organs. Channelising organs of the deceased and creating effective means of organ harvesting are the ways to scale organ donation in a larger way. Till date, there is a lot of stigmas related to organ donation which needs to deal with and more people have to be sensitised in this noble cause.
These challenges can be mitigated by raising awareness at an earliest. Convincing family members at the last stage doesn’t always seem to be a good idea as no one at that point of time is in the state to listen. Awareness should be done at the initial stages, even when they come for check-ups. With an increase in a number of people signing up for organ donation, there surely be a drop in the growing black market for organ donation.
The Logical Indian community applauds the effort taken up by Vijay and his team members. He is an inspiration for us all.
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