‘We Are Many, But One’
City of Surat is renowned as Textile city and diamond city, but since last few years Surat has also got a new identity as Organ Donor City. It is because of pure service to humanity by NileshMandlewala and his team who is working with spirit and passion to do something for society with the noble cause of organ donation continuously since last eighteen years.
Earlier, he was known as a businessman and as the President of The Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry. But today he has got a new identity of Organ Man, as he has became a live saver for organ failure patients through his NGO Name Donate Life which works for organ donation.
In 1997, his father's kidney had failed. Since 2004, his father had to compulsorily go through dialysis twice a week,only those who go through this extremely painful procedure know how mentally, physically and financially draining it is. The suffering of Mandlewala's father and his family was too much to bear. They had to undergo a lot of duress which affected them drastically.
But even during this painful time, Mandlewala thought that if he had to go through so many difficulties during dialysis, what would be the condition of the common man? Let alone cope with the mental trauma that the entire family goes through when one person in the family is affected. He wondered that couldn't all the problems faced by the patients and their families end by organ transplantation? He learned that in a 125 crore people strong country, five lakh people died every year due to the non-availability of organs for transplantation.With this thought was a life changer for him.At that time people were not aware what is brain dead? Which organs can be donated? People didn’t come forward for organ donation due to fear, ignorance and blind belief, hestarted his efforts towards spreading awareness for the cause of organ donationand dedicated his life for this noble cause when his father underwent such a traumatic period.
He endeavoured to motivate people across the country to support and create awareness about cadaveric organ donation, so no one should die waiting due to the non-availability of organs.He actively executes 360-degree awareness about Organ Donation through seminars in schools, colleges, universities, traffic signals, street plays, kite festivals, Ganesh Utsav, talks on Radio & TV, walkathons, exhibitions, for the last 18 years. Also organized the first-ever organ donation awareness seminar at a crematorium.
In trying to sensitise people about the importance of organ donation, he gave up tea and coffee, a simple pleasure of life to promote the cause. When he refuse tea and coffee, host asks him the reason for doing so. This give him a chance to explain and spread awareness about the importance of cadaver organ donation.
He faced anger and criticism of the relatives when he initially approached them for organ donation but rather than stepping his foot back, he stayed there in the ICU, in the corridors of the hospital and started counselling the family members of the brain dead patient for organ donation.
Counselling the family of a brain dead patient and convincing them for organ donation especially when the family is in the deep pain is a very difficult task. Mandlewala is performing this task since last eighteen years. His zeal,dedicationand focus to this cause has started now showing results.
Cadaveric organ donation campaign, which started with kidney donation in 2006, has expanded to donate liver, pancreas, heart, lungs,hands, intestine and bones.
In our country there are many people who have lost their hands due to any sort of accident due to which they have become dependent on other for their livelihood. A person who lost his hands due to an accident is under a deep trauma with the question in his mind that could he also live a normal life? Looking to their pain Mandlewala also started counselling for hands donation. He hassuccessful in donation of hands in the year 2021 of fourteen years age boy from Surat which was the youngest hands donor in our country.
With his vision, passion, commitment and dedication to organ donation activities, till date, Mandlewala and his NGO Donate Life has successfully contributed to Donation of 1205 Organs and Tissue with 494 Kidney, 213 Liver, 50 Hearts, 46 Lungs, 8 Pancreas, 4 Hands, 1 Intestine, 389 Cornea giving a new lease of life and vision to 1106 organ failure patients in our country and globe.
Amidst the difficult times of COVID 19 pandemic when there was decrease in the ratio of Cadaveric OrganDonation in India, donation of 64 Kidney, 36 Liver, 14 Heart, 22 Lung, 1 Pancreas, 4 Hands, 62 Corneas,total donation of 203 Organs and Tissue gave new life and vision to 182 people across India and Globe with his zeal and dedication.
He achieved the title of Pioneer for Cadaver Organ Donation in Gujarat as per the below contributions-
Heart, Lungs, Hands and Intestine donated from Surat were transplanted in different cities of our country like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Banglore, Haydrabad, Kolkata, Indore and Ahmedabad.
Looking at his commitment and contribution to the field of Organ Donation, the Government of Gujarat appointed him as Member of State Advisory Committee of Organ and Tissue Transplantation.
The 14thHon’ble President of India, Shri Ram NathKovindji, has acknowledged and encouraged the noble cause of NileshMandlewala to continue as the whole country stands with him. Our Prime Minister ShriNarendraModiji(then Chief Minister of Gujarat), has sincerely noticed his ceaseless efforts and sent his blessings to carry out the operation with enthusiasm, personally addressing a letter to NileshMandlewala.
Being a non-medical person his relentless work and commitment in the area of Cadaver Organ Donation is of National Significance and unparallel in the history of India. His relentlessly efforts for increasing organ donation were recognized and was honor with the Highest Civilian Award of Gujarat “Gujarat Garima Award” by the Government of Gujarat.
Today NileshMandlewala has become the hope of life for organ failure patients and their family members across India.
On January 12, 2006, Mr. Mandlewala received a call from Surat's Ashaktaashram Hospital. He rushed to the hospital without wasting even a single moment. The hospital's neurosurgeon, Dr.Ashok Patel had declared a patient named Jagdishbhai Shah as brain-dead. It takes a lot of courage to approach the people who have just lost their loved one and convince them to donate their family member's organs while they are still recuperating from the loss. But Mr. Mandlewala along with social worker, Mr. Jitendra Gurjar counselled the family members to donate Mr. Shah's organs.
After Jagdishbhai's family gave their consent, Mr. Mandlewala contacted Dr. Vatsa Patel who knew about the procedure of organ donation at Ahmedabad's Institute of Kidney Disease and Research Centre (IKDRC). Dr. Vatsa Patel then contacted Dr. H.L.Trivedi who then immediately sent Dr. Pranjal Modi and his team to collect Jagdishbhai's kidney. This was the very first time in Gujarat that an inter-city kidney donation from Surat to Ahmedabad had happened. This was Mr. Mandlewala's first success story. Then came many others.
In 2013, Surat's Income Tax Commissioner (Appeals) Mr. Sandeep Kumar's (IRS) kidney failed. His family members were ready to donate their kidneys to him but because they were ailing from different diseases like blood pressure, kidney stones they could not do so. The doctor who was performing the dialysis of Mr, Sandeep Kumar - Dr. Ketan Desai and CA Hiren Divan approached Mr. Mandlewala for a kidney transplant. Sandeep Kumar's dialysis began at Ahmedabad IKDRC. After some time when Mr. Sandeep Kumar got a cadaver organ donation and underwent a kidney transplant, he decided to dedicate the rest of his life for the cause of organ donation. Today he is the Vice-President of Donate Life.
Sometime after this incident, with the support and encouragement of the founder trustees, who are the renowned personalities of Surat city and country, like the Commissioner of Income Tax, Chartered Accountants, Advocates and Businessmen namely Mr. Sandeep Kumar IRS, Mr. Rakesh Jain, Mr. Hemant Desai, Mr. Hiren Diwan, Mr. Ramesh Malpani, Mr. Nirmal Sukh Baijal, other trustees and hundreds of other volunteers, Donate Life was established on 4th December, 2014. Param Pujya Didi Maa Sadhvi Ritambharaji who inaugurated Donate Life's initiative.
Mr. Mandlewala's efforts towards organ donation continue even today with more and more people getting a re-incarnation like experience due to the donated organs.
With his vision, passion, commitment and dedication to organ donation activities, he achieved several milestones in this field, so far, Mr. Mandlewala and Donate Life have been able to persuade & procure 494 Kidneys, 213 Livers, 8 Pancreas, 50 Hearts, 46 Lungs, 4 Hands & 389 Cornea, and a total of 1205 Organs and Tissue donations, which gave new lease of life and vision to 1106 organ failure patients in our country and globe.
Also taking it upon himself to educate and spread awareness to more than 15 lac people on Cadaver organ donation.
His aims in the life are to set up a kidney transplant hospital of international standards at Surat, to promote the awareness of cadaver organ donations, thereby saving lives. He also wants to open a skin, bone and tissue bank and work towards hands and lungs transplantation. He is also working towards the donation of heart-valves of small children.
Everyone either drinks tea or coffee. But Mr. Nilesh Mandlewala sacrificed drinking tea or coffee so that when someone offers him tea or coffee, he can talk about the cause of cadaver organ donation. He has taken a vow that will not resume drinking tea or coffee until 1,111 organs are donated. He feels that is a very small sacrifice he is making towards the cause.
Mr. Mandlewala's wife, children, his deceased friend Anthony Varghese, the trustees of Donate Life and all the volunteers who have given their contributions to the organisation has made it reach the peak that it sits on today.
To talk about Mr. Mandlewala's background - he was the president of Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI) in the year 2009-10. During his tenure as president, SGCCI became the first chamber in the country to established a Trade and Convention centre of its own which was inaugurated by the then Hon'ble Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Narendra Modi on 12th March 2010. He is a member of Surat Shaher Shanti Samiti and District Legal Services Authority, District Court Surat, and also a trustee in Traffic Education Trust, Surat. He is Vice President of South Gujarat Productivity Council (SGPC), Surat. He has worked as a conciliator in Permanent Lok Adalat, District Legal Service Authority, and District Court Surat. He is also rendering services as Vice President of Vatsalya Gram Samiti, Surat of Vatsalya Gram Project run by Param Pujya Didi Maa Sadhvi Ritambharaji with the vision of providing a home to orphaned children, destitute women and lonely grannies across the globe.
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