Thursday, July 19, 2012

Green Heart-Driver's License - soon to be a reality!

With less than one-in-a-million organ donors in India and with over 3 million deaths since 2005 due to non-availability of organs, there is a great need to educate the citizens of our country about organ donation. While there are numerous channels that needs to be explored to help spread the word around, none of them would be successful without the support of State and Central government.

We, at Gift Your Organ Foundation, have been working continuously to open doors in the government sectors so they realize the importance of building mass channels for creating awareness in India. In a path breaking decision, finally taken by the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Karnataka and the Department of Transport, Government of Karnataka, Gift Your Organ Foundation in support with ZCCK will now introduce the organ donation option when an individual applies for a new / renew driver's license in Karnataka. Those opting to become an organ donor will receive a "Green Heart-Driver’s License" card.

Every month approximately 1.15 lakh Driver’s License cards are being issued in Karnataka alone hence this platform is great way to reach out to the public at large to educate them about organ donation. The transport department plans to initiate the project at the Electronic City RTO, which will be treated as a pilot, for a period of two months. After gauging the response for the pilot, the project will be extended to all RTOs in the city and then the entire state.

Associated impact of this initiative*
From 2008 till the 31st of January 2012, Zonal Co-ordination Committee in Karnataka for Transplantation (ZCCK), which is a government body overlooking the organ transplantation process in the State has received a total of 1072 pledges. In January 2012 alone, there were 1,13,952 driver’s license applicants either applying for fresh licenses or for renewals. Even if 50% of these choose to pledge their organs, the number of pledges in one month will be 55 times that of the number of pledges received by ZCCK over the last 4 years! There is no doubt that this will dramatically change the number of deceased organ donors in Karnataka. Currently the numbers are dismal (3 in 2007; 2 in 2008; 11 in 2009; 8 in 2010 and 6 in 2011). 

The success of this initiative will help us build a scalable model that will then be replicated across RTOs and then across cities.

The entire team at Gift Your Organ Foundation is obliged with the support that has been extended to us by the ZCCK and the confidence that the Karnataka Ministry has shown on us in helping change the face of organ donation in Karnataka. We are committed to this effort and will bring in a revolution that will help save lives.

Are you with us? Do voice your views here, we are listening!

*All data is based on publicly available data across various internet sites and is only an indication.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


August 22 (Monday), 2011 to August 26 (Friday), 2011



Transplant Co-ordinator's Training Program
The success of an organ donation and transplant programme depends on good co-ordination and trained transplant co-ordinators. The Government of India in its 2009 gazette has made transplant co-ordinator nomination mandatory before a hospital is registered as a trans-plant centre. This would mean that any one of the 300 transplant hospitals applying for re-newal of its license would need to have trained co-ordinators.

To address the training needs of this cadre of health care professionals, the Zonal Co-ordination Committee of Karnataka for Transplantations (ZCCK) in collaboration with the MOHAN Foundation and Gift Your Organ Foundation has introduced this ‘Transplant Co-ordinators’ Training Programme’. This programme has been designed to suit the require-ment of candidates from both medical and non medical backgrounds. This programme will provide the necessary insights into the complex field of organ transplantations.

Objectives of the Programme
  • Creating a cadre of health care professionals dedicated to ‘Transplant Co-ordination’ in India.
  • Provide all the necessary knowledge to the candidates of this programme to be able to operate as Transplant Co-ordinator in hospitals.
This is a 5 day residential programme

This programme is designed for participants with no experience in this subject area. The programme will ideal for candidates with some medical background, although candidates without any medical background will also greatly benefit from this programme.

  • Introduction to Transplantation
  • Types of Transplantation
  • History of Transplantation
  • THOA1994
  • Organ Retrieval, Preservation and Packing
  • Brain Death Concept—Concept and Evolution
  • Donor Action Program
  • Identification
  • Confirmation
  • Certification
  • Screening
  • Maintaining
  • Family Counseling and other formalities including arranging for tissue typing
  • How to establish a Deceased Donor Program in your Hospital and Form 11
  • Counseling Skills and Communication Skills
  • Ethics in Transplantation
  • Chronic Kidney Diseases and Indications for Kidney Transplant
  • Liver Transplant
  • NGOs in India including ZCCK, Mohan Foundation and Gift Your Organ Foundation
  • Body Disposal Normal and MLC
  • Istanbul Declaration
  • Protocol and checklist to be followed in the event of availability of deceased donor
  • Documentary Film Screening
  • Care of Donor Family
  • Organ Distributing System UNOS and Southern Region
The teaching faculty for the programme has been drawn from both medical and non medical backgrounds. The highly motivated and experienced faculty drawn from across India will not train, but also mentor the candidates during and after this programme.

Registration Process
Mail us at; for application forms. Please duly fill in the application form and send it to the ZCCK Office along with a cheque / demand draft of Rs. 2500/- to-wards the cost of the programme.
There is a discounted fee of Rs. 2,000 for students on submission of their identity cards and a letter from their Head of Departments.
Demand drafts / Cheques need to be drawn in favour of ZCCK, Bangalore.

Accommodation and meals will be provided as a part of the programme fee.

Snehadaan, Sarjapur Road,
Ambedkar Nagar, Carmelaram Post,
Bangalore– 560035,
Karnataka, India

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pledge your organs: Bring in the good karma!

I have met various people in the ‘Gift Your Organ’ organ donation drives who have shared some various very interesting thoughts about organ donation. I distinctly remember this young, beautiful lady in our very first event came and pledged her organs. At the time when she pledging her organs, I was busy in another interaction, a little away from our desk. This lady chose to wait to see me till I returned back to the Gift Your Organ desk.

‘Sameer’, with tears in her eyes, she said to me ‘I am grateful to you for giving me this opportunity of pledging my organs. I feel for the first time I have done some real good for someone else. Thank you very much’. I was touched by the emotions of this lady. It is amazing how this simple act of only signing a form occurs to various people.

In another event, a mother not only pledged her organs, she also pledged organs of her 4 and 7 year old kids. She was very clear that while she prays for the entire family’s long life, in the most unlikely event, if something were to go wrong, the family will donate their organs.

On the other hand, there have been various skeptics as well. In an engagement function, I met a young journalist, very knowledgeable about the happenings in today’s world. After she found out about what I do and the Gift Your Organ Foundation, she asked me, ‘Why are you interfering with some one’s Karma?’. She went on to add, ‘If someone has an organ that needs replacement, that is their Karma – how can you change that?’. Initially, I was a little taken aback by her very straight-faced remark. In few short moments, I gathered myself and I asked her, ‘Why are you bothered about some else’s Karma. Why don’t we talk about yours instead? By pledging and then donating your organs, clearly you will do good Karma. Why don’t you add on the good Karma in your life?’ Her face revealed that she thought this was a good way of looking at it, but she said she wanted to think about it and then take a decision. I was perfectly fine with it.

We at Gift Your Organ come across all kinds of excuses for people not wanting to pledge their organs. It is a simple thing, if you aren’t comfortable with pledging your organs, would you be comfortable with receiving someone else’s organs if in the worst case scenario you need one? We believe it is a question each and every one of us must ask ourselves and then decide whether or not we should pledge our organs. Infact we have tried to address a few of the objections that people have for pledging organs in one other blog post of ours - Life after death: The mystery behind this

Remember, there are more chances that you will need an organ than you will eventually donate yours.

If you want to pledge your organs, please log on to . If you need any clarification, or want to organize an organ donation event in your organization, club, society, etc please contact us by writing to us at

Written by,
Sameer Dua
Founder & Chief Evangelist
Gift Your Organ Foundation

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Introducing the Gift Your Organ Symbol; young, fresh, strong, determined and focused

Someone once said – Show the world who you truly are and let them associate with that identity...makes relationship last longer! How well said!!

When we started working to create the identity of Gift Your Organ, our approach was to build a symbol that would reflect what this foundation has set out to do – “Gift Life”! And what got created as a visual symbol was a beautiful icon that truly identified our purpose of saving lives.

It is this symbol that helped us get started and built a line of communication between us and you. All the interactions with you helped us learn on how you perceive what you see…and one of the primary message that we got was our “Life” symbol was confusing you on the name of the foundation – Gift Your Organ.

We definitely did not want to create dual identity and confuse you with the two words …. therefore the first step that we took to strengthen our foundation was to take a renewed step towards our symbol.

We set about to create a symbol that will reflect who we are – a young, fresh, strong, focused and determined foundation that will always be clear of its vision. The vision of - There will be no deaths in India due to shortage of organ donors.

Gift Your Organ foundation is built on core values of hard work, human sensitivity, honesty, transparent communication and pride. It was important for the symbol reflect all of this and yet be clear. And so the renewed symbol of Gift Your Organ.

This symbol speaks of the pride associated with a cause like “Organ Donation”. It’s clear message of ‘Gift Your Organ…I have’ makes a loud and clear statement to the world. The visual design is absolutely new age, appeals to Gen Y(ou). It’s young in spirit yet mature in its sense of purpose and responsibilities. It reflects this generation that is serious about caring for one another in order to keep hope alive and making the world a better place.

The green heart in this symbol was a very conscious decision. We wanted to bring in a clear differentiation to our identity and know that this green heart will help to do just that! The green heart symbolizes the source of eternal hope and courage that makes impossible possible. It reminds us that the future is always bright.

The green and black colors of the logo represent hope and purpose. While green is the sign of moving ahead with purpose and is also the international color for organ donation, black represents a business-like drive to achieve what we have set out to do.

Thank You

All of you have been a very significant part in us making this change and Gift Your Organ Foundation thanks you for this! Your enthusiasm and true care for the foundation tells us that we are on the right path!

And then there are some special Thank You(s) too…

Joy Ghoshal – You helped give an essence and shape to who this foundation is….and this initiation became a critical part to Gift Your Organ growing. Thank You Joy!

Manoj Choudhury – You became the visualizer of our identity. Thank You Manoj!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Traffic Pollution Doubles Lung Transplant Death Rate, Study Finds

Air pollution from car traffic may double the risk of organ rejection and death in lung transplant patients, Belgian researchers report in a new study.

The study, which tracked nearly 300 lung transplant recipients over more than a decade, found that patients living less than 600 feet from a main road were twice as likely to develop a severe lung inflammation associated with organ rejection within several years of surgery.

The researchers concluded that nearly 30 percent of deaths in lung transplant recipients could be attributed to living near a main thoroughfare.

The study appears in the latest edition of the medical journal Thorax.

Lung transplant, a last resort for sufferers of end-stage lung disease, has grown increasingly common since the first successful long-term transplant was accomplished in 1983; the procedure was attempted roughly 1,700 times in the U.S. in 2007, statistics show.

Survival rates have also risen dramatically, with more than 80 percent of patients now surviving after their first year, and more than 50 percent surviving five years after surgery.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Transplant Experience- a true life story.

When we stepped into the tiny house located in R Nagar in Bangalore, we were welcomed by a young girl. All of 8 years, with shy, sparkling eyes reflecting not only childhood, but which also held the depths of someone who had seen too much at her young age- Reema, her younger brother Ankit- a young boy filled with mischief which can only be found in boy at the age of 6, and Rohini, their mother- a wonderful and charming erstwhile home maker, now a school teacher. What we could see, through strangers’ eyes- A happy family content with living a simple life. With 2 beautiful children- Reema and Ankit,and a loving, supportive wife,Rohini, Anupam Singh could not have asked for more. [Names changed upon request].

In 2007, like most Bengalureans today, Anupam fell victim to a severe allergy attack and had to be medicated with anti-biotics for an extensive period of 4 years. The result? He suffered from a high blood pressure problem and further tests including an abdomen scan revealed that both his kidneys had been damaged beyond repair. He was referred to a larger, more well known hospital [name withheld on request] for the dialysis process, by the doctors at the company hospital.

Life had taken a tragic turn for this small family of four, with the main bread-winner no longer being able to work to support them. Anupam had to undergo dialysis until a suitable donor of a kidney was found.

The only silver lining to Anupam and Rohini’s troubles was the fact that since Anupam worked for a Public sector company, his medical expenses were being covered by his employer. But that did not solve his problem of losing out on a steady income since he could no longer work. Someone once said, ‘Friends are the family that God forgot to give us’. This was true since Anupam’s colleagues stepped in to and contributed a fixed sum per month which sustained the family in distress.

The only permanent solution to Anupam’s condition was to get a kidney transplant surgery. The questions were, From where would this kidney be sourced, who would donate and what were the ensuing costs involved? In India, the law states that only immediate family and spouses can be sourced as live donors for organ transplants.

But despite being the youngest of 4 siblings, no one came forward to even test whether his/her blood group would match Anupam’s. The reasons ranging from a B.P problem to having family dependencies, Anupam’s siblings took several steps back. Donation was a far thought. Family not volunteering to save a person in distress was one of the biggest ironies, and has now sadly, become a commonality.

Rohini went through a rough times with the hospital visits. Ask her about the difference the presence of a supportive and sensitive counsellor would have made to their situation at that time, and she reminisces and agrees that it would perhaps have been a bit easier to handle the stress, if someone had been there with words of encouragement. Women are emotionally strong, but seeing a loved in constant pain can break down even the strongest of women and men. Putting up a brave front for the children and facing all odds could have been easier for her if only she had the emotional support of someone who knew more, or had a better understanding of what she was going through.

The dismal plight of this family of 4 with no help or assistance from the immediate family, struck a chord with Dr. Sen, the senior Doctor on duty at the hospital who then suggested that Anupam register with ‘ZCCK’, a Government organization which facilitates the cadaver transplant of organs to needy recipients in Karnataka. To the common man, even the word ‘cadaver’ does not hold much meaning. Cadaver transplant simply means the transplant of a donor’s organs once the donor has passed away.

The major challenge for Anupam and his family was that cadaver transplants were rare. Simply because donations were few and deaths where donations could be facilitated and organs harvested, even rarer. Then began the gruelling wait for a donor cadaver and one with a matching kidney at that.

Finally in August 2010, luck struck the Singh family. There were 4 registrants with the same blood group as Anupam, and all for kidneys. Every time there was a possibility of a donation, all 4 were tested for compatibility with the donor organ, and the one found compatible would be given the organ. Anupam and Rohini were overjoyed when a cadaver donor’s kidney was found to be suitable to his blood type and kidney match. The other 3 waiting with him were a 55 year old man, an 18 year old girl and a 13 year old boy. To quote him, “I felt elated at the prospect of receiving a new kidney and a new life. However, I am also a father and seeing 13 year old children suffer in front of me ebbed my happiness but also filled me with gratitude and made me understand the value of life”.

Anupam was operated on for 8 hours. The harrowing wait during this time was hardly lengthy for a family which had waited 2.5 years for respite from their misery. The surgery was a success. Thanks to his employer, Anupam’s employers and his supportive colleagues, the family has now come to terms with the past 3 years and Anupam is now on the road to recovery. He is on immuno-suppressants and is on a permanent diet restriction with instructions on hygienic living to lead a normal life. He is healthy, young, and has a positive attitude towards life.

When asked about the identity of the donor, Anupam said “I only wish to know the identity of the donor- a brother I know nothing of, but for whom I pray every day of my new life. He has done more for me than my own blood brother. I only wish to fall at his parents’ feet and wash them with the tears of gratitude at having been given a new lease on life”. Noble thoughts and purity in genuine gratitude are what we saw in Anupam and Rohini, for the organ donor and his family.

We left, feeling inspired and having learnt a lesson on the the value of life, family and friends.

Written & Researched by Nanditha Kini & Tina Budhrani

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Collective power of the youth – for our country’s resurgence…I will “Go Direct”.. And you?

Former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam once said that the great challenge of transforming India can be achieved through youth, which has got the power of ideas, ambition and ability.

Another report mentions how India's youth have a very unique advantage, they have a combination of mobility, language, education, a thirst for knowledge and a technology-savvy nature, qualities that will drive the nation's growth in the coming years

Definitely a matter of pride for us…right? But then we are not growing as a country the way we should…. And if I had to believe what the analysts and what Dr. Kalam are saying… then I know that we are not growing because we are working towards it…. Atleast I am not!

I know very few youths, including myself who have really gone beyond their immediate social circle to do something for the society, for our country? Yes we care, yes we are proud of who we are and yes we want to make a difference… but then what happens beyond that?

Statistics report that almost 72 % of India's population is below the age of 40 and close to 47% of Indians are under the age of 20, and it is supposedly this collective power that can help India achieve its dream. But then what this therefore means is that this 72% of Indians need to now rise up, wake up from their slumber, fasten their seat belts and accelerate their actions towards making India a country the world can be proud of.

It is important that this "youth" positioning in India becomes a rising power in all spheres and sectors. We, the youth of this country need to make things happen and make the dreams of our earlier generation a reality. After all, we are the generation that is reaping the benefits of the struggle of our forefathers who fought for the freedom of this nation. We are also the generation that is reaping the benefits of our forefathers’ work, determination and attitude.

So what are we expected to do?

Be aware of where the country is heading – How many us have actually deep-dived into this year’s annual budget and made notes on what are the highlights and lowlights… what is green and what is red… Not me.. Did you? Why is it that we did not foresee the service tax inclusion on healthcare services and figure out that this is unjustified and unfair? That wasn’t rocket science…. Or maybe we read about it and just figured that we cannot do anything….

Release the passion towards the progress of the country –We are the same people who put in our best foot for a college fest, stayed back late after college to practice for competitions and worked over-time for that important client visit. We know how to make the best use of 24 hours because we believe that our involvement will make a difference….. can we bring the same passion to make a difference to our country? I had always assumed that if I study well and if I have a great career then I am actually indirectly contributing to the growth of the country…..I think what I need to now do is go direct…. I think we need to feed our passion into the resurgence of our country!

Believe that together we can – Thanks to web 2.0, today we are much closer to our family and our friends. Social networking sites have allowed us to track everything that goes on in our friends’ lives…. its’ time we now use this technology to our advantage. Lets use our collective power to stand up against violence, work for the under-privileged and work towards creating awareness for causes like organ donation, female infanticide and many more. All we have to do is take that one step towards using our networking and build a snowball effect for all that’s good.

I want to make a difference and I want to make a difference by contributing more directly….I know its’ hard.

While its’ easy to think about contributing, its’ hard to actually get down to doing it…. There are so many things I am already involved in – home, family, work, ambitions, holidays, friends, kids and so much more……all of them important… all of them critical…. but one thing is for sure….. I atleast know I am going to be conscious towards working to ‘be more direct’….I will come up with a plan that will allow me to contribute to my country and I will work towards implementing that…. What about you?