One in a million

I spoke on January 19, 2019 at Toastmasters about Organ Donation. The transcript of my speech is given below.

I watched the web series “Breathe” on Amazon. The story revolved around a Father, Danny Mascarenhas trying to arrange for a pair of lungs for his only son, Josh. In the end, Danny is helpless and dies before Josh can breathe with a new pair of lungs.

Toastmaster of the day, Fellow Toastmasters and Guests – Breathe was dramatised beyond imagination. There is a stark difference when it comes to reality.

I go back 18 years when my mother in law was diagnosed with Interstitial Lung Disease commonly known as lung fibrosis. This is a condition in which something similar to cobwebs grows inside the lungs and the functioning of the lungs keeps deteriorating. My mother in law passed away and honestly none of us ever thought of a lung transplant to save her.

As we stood there stupefied on that fateful night, I could only think of donating her corneas (eyes) as I come from a family of eye specialists. I was so dazed that I did not even recall that my late grandmother had donated her skin apart from her corneas.

Friends, how often do we come across such situations when we are witness to a demise and helplessly watch the organs being burnt or buried? Did you know that these organs could be used to help someone who is dire need at this very moment?

How many Indians do you think would be able to smile and thank someone for saving their lives? Any idea? The list of the needy people runs into lakhs and the number of organs available is minuscule. India has an organ donation rate of just 8 in 1 crore.

After God and our Mother, it could be any one of us who could give someone that gift of life, if and only if we pledge and eventually donate our organs. YES YOU, YOU AND YOU could be the one extending that lifeline to someone.

Organ donation, due to prevalent myths and perceptions is a topic never discussed openly. Unless of course it happens in our family. But why wait for lightning to strike? Why not understand and talk about it especially when it can help save lives of many? Let us make a beginning here and now:

  • A living donor can donate bone marrow, part of skin, part of liver and one kidney
  • If someone dies of heart failure, he / she can donate the cornea and part of skin but this must be done within 6 hours.
  • If a person is declared brain dead, he / she can donate the cornea, part of skin, heart, lungs, liver, pancreas and kidneys.
  • Family consent is required as per law – so talking to your family and ensuring their support is vital. Remember, doctors will try to save the patient till the very last moment and will not be influenced by the family’s intention to donate organs
  • It is your intention that matters – actual donation may happen 20 to 40 years down the line, depending on one’s age and circumstances in which death occurs
  • The pledge card is good to have but does not have any legal value
  • The demand supply gap especially in kidneys has led to clandestine and murky deals. It is left to you and me to bridge the gap and reduce this evil.
  • Organ donation is different from Post mortem and does not impact last rites. The common myth is that if we are cremated / buried missing some organs we will not achieve Moksh. But who in this room is without a cut on his body? People have their tonsils removed, their appendix removed – do we then bother about Moksh at that time? It is all in our heads.
  • The waiting list is based on the medical condition and is not based on biases like political pressure, gender, status etc.

Remember you have to give to live even after death. Who knows life may turn a full circle and your donated organs could help trigger a chain reaction. This could lead to helping someone from your own family who may need a transplant.

A dear friend of mine lost a family member a few years ago and they donated the organs. In memory, they set up and he spreads the word across the nation exhorting people like you and me to pledge our organs.

Come join the movement by speaking to your family and filling out this form (OR WhatsApp 9011032370). As Khalil Gibran said “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

For the readers of this blog, please visit or You can send a WhatsApp message on +91 9011032370 and you will receive a message with the necessary information and links. Please spread the word.

Here is the link to the video recording of the speech –

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