The Million Donor Project Expedition Camper that will house TeamGOLA
In October 2017 to Jan 2018, TeamGOLA (Gift of life adventure) will embark on an inspiring 20000 km journey into the heartlands of India's rural and small cities to spread the message of the Million Donor project. Some regions will hear about the concept for the first time in their lives and we would like to capture their intent and help them start a conversation with their families in multiple languages.
This is the first time I am reaching out to individuals to help me raise the necessary funds to make this a successful one. Although I do have some corporate sponsors, the support of a larger collective of individuals will increase my Ambassador base and hopefully will also take the message to their communities.
The funds will be used.
1. To Defray some costs of the Drive India event.
2. To create social media educational videos, images and audio so my friends in the media can donate the airtime as Public Service Announcements.
3. To upgrade the web App that enables sign ups and gamifies the process to encourage the giving (Underway)
below are listed the purpose of the foundation:
To identify life changing events in the lives of qualified individuals, predominantly women and children or communities and fund the various interventions to ensure long term and short term positive outcomes for them. Events and outcomes that fall in the
1. ORGAN transplants - Phase 1
2. Life saving Medical procedures - Phase 1
3. Education - Phase 1
4. Mental health - Phase 2
5. Civic health and housing
6. Disaster and refugee relief phase 3
7. Domestic violence rehab - Phase 3
8. Women and Child sexual abuse intervention and rehab - Phase 3
9. Long term medical care - Phase 4
10. Govt. POLICY advocacy, public education and awareness. - Phase 1
Sept 2014 changed my life when I donated my kidney to my brother. I realized the value of this donation and how this changed his life where he now in turn saves lives every day as a doctor. I found that people were afraid to donate. This fear came from ignorance. As a member of the journalist/media fraternity, I made it my mission to tackle this ignorance so more people would come out and give the valuable gift of an organ after their life time if not during it.
I had to become an example to other donors and inspire them to explore the idea of gifting a life. I had to pick an activity that attracted the attention of the people I pass and the media, who would give me the exposure and platform to spread my message. I picked overland driving as this was the most effective way of touching peoples lives and them mine. Thus the gift of life adventure was born.
I undertook my first adventure when I took my brother on a 7 day cycling adventure in the hills of Spain just 6 months after the transplant to show that life can be back to ordinary if not extraordinary. The press showed up and helped. The awareness was beginning. I was becoming a part of the voice that was growing louder together.
I got drawn into my mission even deeper when I decided to drive with my family (Organ donation is a family decision and mine played an inspiring part in my decision) on a road trip from Bangalore India, to Scotland UK. A 74 day journey where along the way we met and spoke to may organizations and people about the mission. I used my personal funds by selling off the one apartment I had so I can earn the trust of all and their support. This journey gave me a sense that awareness has to translate to action and after a pivotal meeting with an organization we met in Norway the Million Donor Project was born.
The million donor project is all about the family. Traditionally in India and many parts of the world, organ donors would register with an organization and did not speak to their families about it and when time came, the families did not make good the donation from lack of knowing. I decided to address this part of the process and designed an app that captures the intent and communicates it to the family via an SMS thereby starting a conversation at home. It is considered bad luck to speak about death in most homes. If the family knows, there is no need for signing up with ANY organization and the donation rate would be higher with the family behind it. The app is found at http://www.giftoflifeadventure.com/signup
To promote the Million Donor project, I drove again from Italy to Dubai which took 2 months across 20 nations, with speaking engagements at various rotary clubs for their support within their communities.
Now the time has come to do this in India. A country I call home and a country that needs this awareness and education more than any other place. In India the FAMILY has the right over the body and their will prevails over any provision in a will surrounding Organ Donation. Education via viral videos like this one we made.
#DriveIndia - This project will be the biggest of them all.. The team consists of a Camera crew, editor and director to create social media content every 3 days during the journey.... an improvement on the ones we made as seen on our YouTube Channel called Giftoflifeadventure. Also in the crew is a digital marketing expert to constantly amplify the activities during the drive.
3 months ago I was approached by an acquaintance I met during the road trip to Scotland and sought my help to help his 17 year of Brother-in-Law navigate the Organ transplant process in India so he can have his kidney transplant. Malik and his brothers flew in from a small impoverished town in Afghanistan and in the watchful care of the Gift of Life Adventure Foundation (an NGO, non -profit) that I set up post the ordeal I went through for them only . I realized the laws in India need to be more user friendly and I could not do so as an individual. If the Afghan Brothers went through this, every India goes through this. Something had to change. I have rallied the support of the media, the hospitals and the now appointed lawyer to help me move the needle on the law and for this I need more funding than I can personally afford. This is a major project that is being built bit by bit until the bigger funding agencies can kick in. I want your help in getting me there for this module. here is an effort to #saveMalik. Post this TV show Malik got his permissions and had his lifesaving surgery and is now on a road to recovery.