New Delhi: Priyanka Gandhi and Brinda Karat were among 500-odd people from different walks of life who on Wednesday pledged to donate their organs.
While 40-year-old Priyanka could not make it to the event due to some personal unscheduled engagement, she sent a message to the organisers saying, "You are welcome to announce my name as a donor if it helps the cause."
The message of Congress President Sonia Gandhi`s daughter was read by the authorities of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, which organised the donation camp to sensitise people and promote organ donation.
CPI-M leader Karat also pledged to associate herself with the cause, saying, "I am totally supporting this cause of organ donation."
Journalist Prannoy Roy and his wife Radhika also signed Donor Cards, SGRH officials said.
"As many as 500 people pledged to donate their organs in today`s function," an official from SGRH said.
DONATE (The Deceased Organ donation Network and Transplant Education) was launched today by SGRH in memory of late Tej Ram who was chairman of Board of Trust SGRH and two more families who donated organs of their deceased members.
Ruminating the low rate of organ donation in India, Dr R S Rana, Chairman, Board of Management SGRH, said the rate of of decease organ donation is only 0.8 per million people whereas in UK it is 17/million and in Spain it is 35/million.
"If only 20 per cent of the families of people who had a brain death donated their organs, all the requirements for organ transplantation in India would be met," he said.
Speaking at the event, Mamata Jain, who donated organs of
her late son, said people should understand the need of donation. "My son has not died in vain, he lives on in many lives," Jain said.
36-year-old Preeti Mishra, who got a new lease of life after a liver transplant, said she is healthy and alive today because of the organ donation process.
"I can`t express how grateful I am," she said.
87-year-old Tej Ram died on September 3 and donated his organs saving three lives, Rana said.
According to Tej Ram`s granddaughter Tarani Chopra, her grandfather still lives among them through lives of others.
Transplantation of Human Organs Act was passed by the Lok Sabha in 1994 with a view to stop trade in human organs and to recognise brain death as a form of death, said Harsha Johari, chairman of Renal Transplant Surgery at SGRH.
Sunil Shroff, chairman of NGO MOHAN Foundation, India has 1.4 lakh accident victims who are diagnosed as brain dead annually.
Speaking at the event, Vice Admiral J S Anand talked about Armed Forces Organ Retrieval and Transplant Authority which was started in 2007 to increase awareness of organ donations, organ retrieval and transplantation.
SGRH has performed 2500 transplants of live and cadaveric kidney, 676 liver, 101 bone marrow, 330 corneal, one heart and intestinal transplants up till now, a hospital authority said.