Organ donation is not something most people give much thought to. What is a routine and widely accepted form of life-giving and life-saving in so many societies in the world makes most of us uncomfortable. However, there are those like Mamta Jain, Lalitha Raghuram and Purnima Jain who have gone above and beyond what anyone could have expected of them. They were able to think beyond the tragic loss facing them and helped others in need by donating the organs of their children. They are truly inspirational individuals, who braved the worst heartbreak of their lives to selflessly give this priceless gift. Organ donation is now a cause they support wholeheartedly.
Mamta and her husband Arun Jain were blessed with three beautiful children. Two daughters and a son. Life was great, until they lost Aman at the young age of 13 to an asthma attack. It is probably the greatest fear in the world to lose a child, and Mamta had lost hers.
Aman was declared brain-dead and there was nothing his parents could do for him, but they could help someone else. Sitting in the hospital shattered beyond belief, Mamta recalled an article she had read on organ donation.
"I realised there must be so many helpless mothers, wives, sisters, children and parents who might just be losing their loved ones too. So we asked the doctor if it was possible to donate his organs."
Aman's kidneys helped saved two people. His eyes gave sight to two, his heart valves gave life to other children and his liver was taken to Chennai. Since then Mamta has taken any and all opportunities to spread awareness on organ donation. She is very vocal about her moving story. She ran the Airtel Delhi half-marathon along with our NGO, ORGAN India to help raise awareness for organ donation. Aman's story was one of the five that Star TV chose to highlight during the marathon in which hundreds were participating. Her interview was telecast nationwide. "I once heard if you save a life you save the world. Well my son saved many," says Mamta.
Lalitha is the Hyderabad-based Country Head of an NGO that provides public education on organ donation. Tragedy stuck when her 19-year-old son Swamy Narayan went out with his friends on his birthday and met with an accident. Badly injured, he did not receive timely attention and was picked up by a milk van in the early morning. Swamy was put on a ventilator and was declared brain dead the following evening. Lalitha and her husband Raghuram decided that they would have his organs donated. "More than 500 doctors and hospital staff visited him in the ICU. Several of them said that I was under no compulsion to donate his organs, just because we were associated with the cause. I have always believed in the goodness of giving, so the decision to donate organs came naturally." Swamy's kidneys, liver and eyes were donated that evening.
Lalitha and her husband have counselled over 400 families so far, and she works tirelessly to promote organ donation in the country as well as train counsellors and medical staff. "We do share with the family our personal story, and in fact let them know that we live with the gratification that Swamy continues to live in five people, and that they have such an opportunity, and that they should not let that slip by. "
Purnima Jain was a proud mother of three sons. Her middle son, Pranay was suffering from a kidney disease that necessitated a transplant. Purnima volunteered to give him her kidney to save his life. On the day of the operation Pranay slipped and fell in the bathroom of the hospital and hit his head. He was eventually declared brain dead, and in a cruel twist of irony, instead of receiving a kidney, he was now in a position where his organs could be donated to save others.
When the doctors asked his mother if she wanted to donate his organs to save others, she took a while to think about it. "Both my sons came to me and said. 'Mom don't worry. Pranay is not gone. We'll be Pranay. But let someone else whose life can be saved benefit from his organs." I realised then that we could help many more parents whose children were on their deathbed. With that thought, I said yes to the donation."
Now Purnima talks about her experience on film and various other platforms. She as well as her husband and children do everything possible to spread awareness on organ donation. Pranay lives on.