Villagers in Kerala offer to donate organs

Swati Krishna, a class XII student, was diagnosed with acute jaundice a month ago. Only a liver transplant could have saved her life. Her aunt offered half of her liver.

The next hurdle was money. Her parents, the grama panchayat, her school and the good samaritans chipped in to raise Rs 27 lakh.

The entire state prayed for Swati. The transplant at the Amrita Institute of Medical Science was successful. Swati, a student of the Mar Koorilose Memorial HSS at Piravom, near Kochi, has almost returned to normal life now.    

The girl’s plight and the collective efforts to pull her out from the jaws of death have inspired residents of a village on the outskirts of Thirssur. Nearly 2,000 adults of the 600 families at Pootharakkal have pledged to donate their organs. They handed over the letters of consent to Davis Chiramel, chairman of the Kidney Foundation of India, an NGO promoting organ donation, in the presence of local MLA Geetha Gopi and district panchayat president K V Dasan.

“Pootharakkal is the first village in the country, whose people have voluntarily offered organs,’’ claimed Chiramel. “I have been preaching them how organs of dead which go waste, can save precious lives. Earlier, my words had no effect.”

“The villagers, belonging to all religions, have burst the myth that donating organs after brain death is a sin and the donor’s soul will not get an entry to heaven,” said Chiramel.

“We are collecting data of the people across the state who are willing to donate their organs after brain death, under the government’s Mrethasanjeevani Programme launched to create awareness on organ donation.”

Chiramel on Friday embarked on a journey from Thrissur to Thiruvananthapruam for promoting the cause. “Before starting the march, I handed over my letter of consent to the government for donating organs after my brain-death.’’

Chiramel had donated his kidney on September 30, 2009, to Gopi, a poor taxi driver. “A few people in the village sought my help to raise money for the transplantation. We arranged the money but failed to get the kidney. So I offered my kidney and the man is now leading a normal life. I am also okay, I have no health problem,” he said.

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