BENGALURU: Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone may be making waves now for playing the role of an acid attack survivor in the upcoming Hindi movie Chhapaak, but Laxmi Agarwal, the real-life braveheart, has been quietly working for the cause for over a decade now. Laxmi, on whose life the Hindi film is based, is once again spreading awareness about a much-required initiative, and urging people to learn more about skin donation.
Laxmi, who hails from Delhi, will be flagging off a 5km walkathon conducted by Victoria Hospital in the city on June 9 to promote skin donation. “I am glad that these initiatives are taking place now.We need more people to come forward, and they can check with doctors on the ways to donate their skin. It is like any other organ donation camp,” Laxmi, who has been an inspiration to women in India who have suffered burns or acid attacks, says.
Explaining the procedure, the 32-year-old adds that skin donation requires that the blood groups match, and the skin of the deceased body needs to be maintained and cleaned. The skin is generally taken from areas such as thighs and the back and is then grafted, she adds, pointing out that this is the first time she is promoting the cause.
“This is helpful for victims of acid attacks as well as burn injuries. There have been cases wherein family members have wanted to donate but could not do so due to lack of facilities,” she says. “These survivors go through a lot of problems. Such campaigns should be taken up in the long term and successfully implemented. This event will also help make more survivors aware of the availability of such an option. I want this campaign to reach far and wide, especially because people get depressed due to their skin.
It will help many survivors and their families get through the process easily,” explains Laxmi, who was attacked in 2005 by a 32-year-old man for rejecting his proposal. Being the voice for several acid attack victims, she was honoured by former First Lady of US, Michelle Obama, with the International Women of Courage Award for her courageous and selfless advocation for justice and human rights.
Laxmi will speak about her inspirational journey during the event in Bengaluru. It will also highlight the mental and physical trauma that a burn victim undergoes and how skin donation can help them overcome some issues. The myths and taboos attached to skin donation will also be addressed.