A living organ donation seminar was organised by the BAPS Hindu Community in South London at Beddington Conference Centre, Croydon, on Sunday 23 June 2019.
More than 300 people attended the seminar, which forms part of an ongoing campaign organised by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha to raise awareness about living organ donation amongst Hindus in the UK.
Organ donation is the giving of an organ to someone who needs it, to save or transform their life. There are two ways of donating an organ: a living donation or a donation after death. A living donor is someone who donates an organ whilst they are alive, most commonly a kidney.
The seminar included an educational presentation about the medical benefits of living organ donation, and provided practical guidance on how to improve organ donation rates among the Hindu community. It especially reiterated the act of donating an organ in line with the core Hindu values of ‘seva’ and ‘daan’, i.e. selfless giving.
The audience was also shown an informative video documentary produced by BAPS with support from NHS Blood and Transplant and the National BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) Transplant Association. It shared testimonies from kidney donors, organ recipients, medical professionals and Hindu representatives as well as blessings from His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj encouraging everyone to consider this great act of religious merit.
After the seminar, attendees were given a leaflet that provided a useful summary of the information and next steps.
The seminar included an interview by Narendra Patel (BAPS Healthcare) with Dhruvbhai Bhagat (the recipient, nephew) of a kidney organ donation and Kishorebhai Bhagat (the donor, uncle). Dhruvbhai commented that he has received a new life by having the organ transplant. Kishorebhai suggested that “We take a lot from society, but do not give much back.” He suggested that it is the greatest gift you can give to anyone. “You leave your money for your loved ones, similarly you should leave one’s organs(s) to someone to live a better life”.
Kirit Wadia, a lead volunteer for BAPS in South London, added, “The seminar was attended by many local Indian community leaders. It has raised awareness and educated the local community about the need for living organ donation, and the emphasis of working with others to continue to spread this life-saving message.”
Shantilal Sonigra, head of the Vanza Society, shared, “I will certainly be passing this important message to our community."