SHIVUM KAKKAD and his family have joined an NHS campaign urging families to talk about organ donation.
His father Bharat, who died of cardiac arrest at 63, had donated a kidney to a woman in her 50s and a kidney to a man in his 60s.
Bharat fell ill suddenly in May 2019 at the family home in Pinner, Middlesex. He sadly never regained consciousness and died a few days later in hospital.
The family’s story features in a new TV advert which launched this week. The advert features family footage and memories of Bharat.
The TV advert is part of the Leave Them Certain campaign, which aims to highlight the impact not knowing has on the families who are left behind and encourage people to talk about their decision.
It follows the law change last year in England, which means that all adults are seen as willing to donate their organs, unless they opt out or are in one of the excluded groups.
Shivum said: “My father was a very giving person. He did charity work and was a strong believer in the Hindu act of Sewa, of service to God. When the specialist nurse approached us about organ donation, we made our decision.
“We knew that helping others in need was what my father would have wanted. But I wish we had spoken about it to know for certain and I would urge others to take the opportunity while they still can.”
According to a statement, record numbers of people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds received lifesaving organs last year, however they still have to wait longer than white patients for a transplant. Although people can receive a transplant from someone of any ethnicity, the best match will often come from a donor of the same ethnicity.
Research said that even though 80 per cent of people are willing to donate their organs, only 39 per cent say they have shared their decision.
While a huge 9 in 10 families support organ donation if they knew what their loved one wanted, this figure falls to around half (51 per cent) when a decision is not known.
Altaf Kazi, head of faith engagement for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “The choice about whether to become an organ donor will always be a personal decision and donating in line with faith and values is very important to many people. We want everyone to understand the law around organ donation, the choices available to them, and highlight the importance of sharing their decision. This is so families can be certain they knew what their loved one wanted.
“If you register a decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register, there is an opportunity to provide details so you can ensure your wishes are respected and discussed with your family. Whatever your decision, we want people to talk about it.”
Research shows that the biggest barrier to talking about organ donation is that it’s never come up in conversation with 34 per cent of people stating this as their reason.
While 27 per cent say they are worried it will upset their family or make them feel uncomfortable, 24 per cent feel they don’t need to tell anyone their decision, 22 per cent don’t want to talk about their own death, 22 per cent say they haven’t got round to it yet and 16 per cent have never thought about organ donation before.