BENGALURU: It’s been four since Anil Srivatsa has been on the road, trying to spread awareness on organ donation. Having covered 85,000 km across 41 countries for over 300 days in his quest to bring attention to a life-giving gesture that more of us should be making, Srivatsa says lack of information creates fear in minds of people. With himself as an example, Srivatsa has been telling his story all around the world in a bid to inspire people to volunteer for organ donation.
“I want to show them that life post a kidney transplant cannot just be normal but also extraordinary. Show them what it is like to live not just one life but two. During my drives, I have spoken to over 45,000 people in gatherings and organised talks, and the mission is on,” he says.
In 2015, Anil, who is also the founder of a digital audio player startup company, donated one of his kidneys to his brother, a neurosurgeon. Soon after the surgery, he planned an overland drive from Bengaluru to the United Kingdom in 2016, naming the trip ‘Gift of Life Adventure’ (GOLA). He is now releasing a documentary on the journey next month, encouraging people to sign up as organ donors.
“I am trying to raise money for a cause I have made my own for the past four years ever since I donated my kidney to my brother,” says the 51-year-old American citizen. “It has become my mission to spread awareness about organ donation, with myth-busting information, and inspire others to willingly donate organs to help save the lives of their loved ones and friends,” he adds.
Srivatsa will also be participating in the World Transplant Games in August this year in the UK and will represent India in the 100m sprint event. “After the transplant games, I will be travelling to North and South America, covering more than 55,000 km over a 150-day period across 17 nations in my own car,” he reveals. Srivatsa hopes to raise `20 lakh out of the `60 lakh for the journey through his crowd-funding page.
He also wants to make the painful bureaucratic and legal system in India more responsive to patients and donors. “I have filed a few petitions in the Karnataka High Court to ensure patients get the approvals for a smooth transplant process.
I use the money raised to also fight these court battles. We have prevailed in the courts so far via the GOLA Foundation,” says the New Jersey-based Srivatsa, who is currently spending time in the country as part of his mission.Next year, Srivatsa also plans to travel to countries such as South Africa, Egypt, Greece, Russia, China, Thailand, Vietnam and then back to India.