British Indian artists sing for more to be a ‘Hero’ in new organ donation appeal

British Indian artists sing for more to be a ‘Hero’ in new organ donation appeal

British Indian music artists have recorded a new version of the song ‘Hero’ as part of an urgent call for members of the British South Asian community to pledge their support for organ donation and potentially save lives.

The new music track is part of the initiative ‘Life beyond Death – Pass it on’, which was commissioned by three community organisations: Veerayatan UK, Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur UK and Shishukunj London.

The cover of Mariah Carey's iconic track performed by 16 talented British artists of South Asian origin, including Ambika Jois, Shivali Bhammer, Navin Kundra and Sonna Rele, has already received rave reviews. The song has been released with the hope of spreading awareness about the NHS' organ donation campaign in the UK.

Raj Mistry, Co-Founder of Ragatip Music, says: “I actually had very little understanding about the lack of South Asian organ donors until I got involved with the campaign, it’s clearly something most of us would like to do, but we simply do not think about it, which leads to inaction.

“It’s such a simple thing to register and the fact that you can potentially save someone’s a life makes it a no-brainer in my opinion.”

In June 2019, 1,023 people from the South Asian community were waiting for an organ transplant in the UK, making up 17 per cent of transplant waiting list. While between June 2019 and May 2020, 922 people from a South Asian background received a deceased donor transplant, making up 14 per cent of all recipients. Yet during the same period, only 71 organ donors came from a South Asian background, just 3 per cent of all donors.

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Jagdeep Shah of Shishukunj says: “Without people saying yes, sadly hundreds of people still die each year whilst waiting for that life-saving call. If a member of your family needed a transplant, would you take one?

“If the answer is yes, please consider how by pledging your support for organ donation by talking to your families, you could save the life of someone else’s mother, brother, sister, father, husband, wife, son or daughter.”

The project was made possible thanks to funding from NHS Blood and Transplant’s (NHSBT) Community Investment Scheme, which provides grants to organisations to raise awareness of blood and organ donation amongst black and minority ethnic communities.

The three community organisations are making an urgent call to the British South Asian community to open a dialogue about organ donation with their families and be proactive as despite the recent change in the law which has taken effect families will always be involved before organ donation goes ahead.

Ashwin Mehta, Head of Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care UK, said: “The importance of organ donation is obvious – it can help save lives! By being a donor, I may be able to save the life of someone you love and vice versa. There is a desperate shortage of donors amongst the Asian community, so please start a conversation and express your wishes to your family, so you may also help to save the life of a loved one.”

So far the video has been viewed tens of thousands of times across social media channels. The video has also received the support of a number of other Asian singers as well as leading charities and organ donation supporters.

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Altaf Kazi, Head of Partnerships, at NHS Blood and Transplant, says: “This song is a brilliant opportunity for us to raise awareness and get people talking about the importance of discussing organ donation with your family.

“It is fantastic to see so many artists coming forward to show their support for organ donation and encourage others to do the same. Please take a moment to register your organ donation decision and share your decision with your family. It only takes two minutes but you could save up to nine lives.”

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