When Swapnil Raut (35) told his paternal aunt, Sunita Naik (62), that he was suffering from kidney failure and that no one in the immediate family had a matching blood group, she did not think twice before promising to donate one of her kidneys to him.
“He is a young man and has a six-year-old son. I could not see his life getting ruined,” said the Alibaug resident, who came to Mumbai in April to ‘gift’ her kidney to Raut.
Parents and spouses often donate kidneys, but it is not common for distant relatives to do so.
Naik is one of the 60 donors, including five families who donated organs of deceased relatives, who will be felicitated by a non-governmental organisation, Narmada Kidney Foundation, on the occasion of ‘Organ Donors Day’ on Monday.
The foundation has been creating awareness about the importance of cadaver donation, wherein organs of a brain-dead person are removed and donated to those who need it. Though countless people die due to brain haemorrhage or stroke every year, their kin don’t donate organs due to superstitions.
So, family members of people with kidney failure often have to part with their own kidneys. Currently, 1,400 Mumbaiites are on the waiting list for cadaver (brain-dead person) kidneys.
Dr Bharat Shah, consultant nephrologist with Lilavati Hospital, pointed out that hardly 10 per cent of the 250 kidney transplants that take place in Mumbai every year are from cadavers.
Kalpana Patil (26), whose mother Sulbha donated a kidney to her, said that relatives of brain-dead persons should consider donation as they could help save many lives.
“I did not try for a cadaver kidney because there is a waiting period of at least three or four years. But I feel bad that my mother had to give her kidney. What if her only kidney stops functioning properly?,” she said.