A fairly high level of awareness on organ donation exists among people even in rural areas, but many are unaware of how to go about it, say a group of youth on a motorcycle rally sponsored by the MOHAN Foundation

"There is a fairly high level of awareness on organ donation among people, even in rural areas. Many are willing to donate, but only seem to be unaware of how to go about it."

This is the observation of a group of youth from Chennai who are on a motorcycle rally across the State to promote awareness on organ donation.

The childhood friends, all corporate employees, have taken up a 2,000-km-long ‘Rally for Life,’ organised under the auspices of the Multi Organ Harvesting Aid Network (MOHAN) Foundation. The volunteers, who left Chennai on September 9, arrived in Tiruchi on Wednesday after covering Vellore, Salem, Coimbatore, Madurai, Tirunelveli and Dindigul.

"There has been a tremendous response to our rally right through. We tell the people to help save lives and our objective is to make more people join the movement," says B. Kamal Hasan, a team member. Indian Medical Association branches and hospitals joined them in organising awareness programmes en route.

"All of us have been doing some charity work or service. Through this rally we hope to make an impact," says Mr. Kamal Hasan. Indeed, motivation runs high among the youth. One of them, P. Sudhakar, refused to pull out even after suffering an elbow dislocation in an accident near Pollachi on way to Madurai.

Undeterred

Mr. Sudhakar was riding pillion when the accident took place and Mahesh, his partner, too suffered minor injuries. After first aid administered by a paramedic accompanying the team in an ambulance, the two youths were treated at a hospital in Madurai. "We had planned and made arrangements for this trip for the past several months. I can’t allow the injury to stop the journey," says Mr. Sudhakar.

The team has been distributing pamphlets on organ donation and donor cards to those who wish to donate their organs. The cards, to be carried in the person of prospective donors, would help doctors to contact the relatives and make the necessary arrangements for the organ transplantation.

"We also enlighten people on the provisions of the Transplantation of Human Organs Act 1994. We advise people against being lured into commercial deals," says K.P. Sethuraman, another team member.

The team has also made it a point to honour parents/relatives of cadaver donors. They visited the families of two donors, Subha Nandhini and Joseph Sahayaraj, at Samayapuram and Bheema Nagar in the city to honour them with shawls and certificates, before proceeding to Thanjavur.

Thanjavur Staff Reporter adds:

The youth along with Dr.Sumana Navin, Advisory Board Member of MOHAN foundation were given a warm reception by the Lions Club, Rotary Club, Uro Nephro Association and Indian Medical Association members at Sri Besant Lodge. The youth, Kamal Hasan, John Marcus, Gokula Krishnan, Sethu, Sudhakar, Mahesh and Vinodh said that they visited villages and spoke to people about organ donation.

People were ready to donate organs but were not aware of the procedure to do so. "We enlightened them on these aspects," said Kamal Hasan.

An ambulance fitted with a public address system is accompanying the rally members. They use the public address system to speak in villages. They distribute pamphlets to the public. Global hospital has helped them in the effort. Three other youths Sanjay, Sakthi, Navkumar accompany the motorcycle-riding rallyists, in the ambulance.

After the arrival of the youth, an organ donation awareness meeting was held at the lodge. Dr.N.Mohandoss said that organs of brain dead people can be donated and they will give life to others. In the coming years, kidney failure will be a major problem and one among ten persons will have kidney-related diseases in 2010. Dr. Sumana Navin, gave a demonstration on organ donation. V.Kumar, Chief Education Officer, Thanjavur district, S. Balasubramanian, nephrologist, Dr. S.Singaravelu, President of Thanjavur branch of Indian Medical Association, Dr. Senthil Nayagam, nephrologist spoke at the meeting.