It was on September 5, 2014 that Anil Srivatsa’s life changed forever. He reminisces, “I donated my kidney to my brother. I realised the value of the donation and how this changed his life. I also found that people were afraid to donate organs. The fear came from ignorance. I made it my mission to tackle this ignorance, so more people would come out and give the valuable gift of an organ after their life time if not during it.”
Starting in June this year, his foundation, Gift of Life Adventure aims to clear the confusion and fear related to organ donation. The numbers are impressive — so far Anil has travelled 39 countries and 60,000 km on his SUV, addressing over 10000 people.
The premise of his mission is to inspire people to pledge their organs. He says, “I had to pick an activity that attracted the attention of the people I pass as well as the media, who would give me the exposure and platform to spread my message. I picked overland driving as this was the most effective way of touching people’s lives.”
Being an organ donor himself, Anil says adds a lot of credibility to his mission as people take him seriously. He reels off the manifold challenges he faces, “Apart from the age old superstition and myths, people fear hurting themselves in case of live donation. This is where one of my objectives would help — to be an example and dispel those fears.”
Having quit his job as the CEO of an internet radio company in Bengaluru, Anil is inspired on his journey by the fact that he is spreading a message of love. He says, “When I donated my kidney my brother bounced back and is living life to the fullest. I feel everyone has a chance and can be given that chance by the people they love. Human helping another human is an act that needs awakening.” Anil stresses that he is not out there to convince anyone, only to raise awareness.
He has also attempted to break the Guinness World record recently for the largest organ donation awareness lesson. (He is now awaiting official confirmation to his application).
On a carbon neutral journey in order to not harm the environment, Anil’s is an inspiring story of how individuals can be change makers.
This journey ends in February after a drive across Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand taking the total countries to 44 and adding another 20000 km. While the journey might culminate soon, Anil is hoping that his message will resonate forever.