Home > Features >

Gautam Gambhir, Anil Kumble, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Vinod Kambli among those who have pledged their organs

Cropped Organ Donation
Clockwise (from top left): Gautam Gambhir, Anil Kumble, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Vinod Kambli © Getty Images

Cricketers Gautam Gambhir, Anil Kumble, Vinod Kambli and Navjot Singh Sidhu are some of the Indian celebrities who have pledged their organs for donation. In a country with a billion-strong population, there is a dearth of organ donation, and the involvement of iconic figures can help spread the message and shed preconceived notions. In Australia, David Hookes Foundation leads the cause and has helped create great awareness. Nishad Pai Vaidya writes about the role of the cricket world in the organ donation movement.

Only 0.01 percent of India’s billion-strong population are organ donors, says the World Health Organisation (WHO). When compared to Western countries, where that number reads 70-80 percent, India falls woefully short. Call it a lack of awareness or age-old superstitions, organ donation isn’t a very acceptable procedure in India. This despite the fact that pledging ones organs may well save someone’s life.

Consider this: doctors say that although some people pledge their organs, their family and relatives often prevent the procedure due to their preconceived notions. A doctor was recently quoted by IANS, “People have weird thinking like donating organ can lead the individual to hell after death.” Gautam Gambhir, Anil Kumble, Vinod Kambli, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Bishan Singh Bedi and Kapil Dev are some of the Indian cricketers who have pledged their organs and voiced their support for the cause. In a country where cricketers are iconic figures, this move will help raise awareness for a noble initiative.

Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, the former India captain, donated his left eye on his death in 2011. Pataudi and his wife Sharmila were supporters of the cause and the former had wished to donate his one good eye on his death. A month down the line, Gautam Gambhir became the first cricketer to pledge all his organs.  In his message for the Gift Your Organ movement, Gambhir said, “I hereby pledge to donate my kidney, heart, liver, pancreas, small bowel, eyes, lungs and tissues after my death.” Kumble too joined the movement and highlighted the need for awareness in the country. Bedi and Kapil came in support in 2014.

In India, cricketers aren’t the only celebs who have pledged their organs. Bollywood personalities Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Farah Khan, R Madhavan, Aishwarya Rai, Nandita Das are some who are a part of the movement. Spiritual gurus Sri Sri Ravishankar and Baba Ramdev have also pledged their organs, which is significant considering their stature.

Australia leads the way

Australian cricket was plunged into sadness in January 2004 when David Hookes tragically passed away after a bar brawl. Hookes was taken too young but it wasn’t cricket alone where he left his mark. He had pledged to donate his organs. As many as ten people were saved by Hookes’ noble move and are indebted to him for a new life. This made an impact on the Australian society as numerous people then registered themselves for organ donation in the weeks after the incident. Hookes’ widow, Robyn, started a foundation in his memory, where you can register yourself as an organ donor. This foundation has since gone on to improve the lives of many people and created a rich legacy for Hookes.

Every year, a cricket match is played between an Indian Community XI and an Australian Transplant Cricket Club XI. They contest for the Hookes Family Jeevan Dhan Trophy. “Jeevan Dhan” translates to “the wealth of life” and through cricket, they aim to spread the message. This match is held by the David Hookes Foundation in collaboration with the Indian Welfare Association.

There is also a Transplant Cricket Inc. which has found support from various cricket bodies Down Under. Rob Quiney and Alex Keath, two Victorian cricketers, are brand ambassadors. Daniel Smith and Stephen O’Keefe are their ambassadors from New South Wales. Gary Gilmour, the former Australian all-rounder, was in fact a beneficiary as he received a liver in 2005. Thereafter, he was a supporter of this drive until his death in 2014.

It isn’t in Australia alone that cricketers are playing their part. Miles away in the British Isles, Scotland’s cricketers also supported the cause. With their national team featuring players from diverse communities, the message was spread across a huge Diaspora. They mainly urged the Asian, African and the other ethnic minorities to pledge their organs. “As a multicultural sport, Cricket Scotland is very pleased to support such a worthwhile campaign. We hope that by being part of raising awareness on the issue that more people sign-up to be organ donors and ultimately help save lives,” said Roddy Smith, CEO of Cricket Scotland.

Through that, one story stands out. When the 24-year-old Craig Bottig passed away in 2013, his parents agreed to donate his organs and that saved many lives. His heart came to the rescue of a man who needed one urgently. His kidneys and pancreas also helped a few others. Bottig died suddenly and that cut short a fledging career as he aspired to reach higher. Sussex wore black armbands in his memory during one of their games.

Sport is a universal language they say and cricket can play its part to spread the message of love and brotherhood. Even in death, Hookes’ memory lives on. He has become a figure bigger than a cricketer.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 17, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 18, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 19, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Mohali

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014  at Raipur

Northern Knights won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014  at Raipur

Lahore Lions won by 55 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 14, 2014  at Raipur

Mumbai Indians won by 9 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 14, 2014  at Raipur

Northern Knights won by 72 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 13, 2014  at Raipur

Lahore Lions won by 6 wkts

Photos

West Indies vs Bangladesh, 2nd Test at Gros Islet

Videos

Anderson plays golf with Jaguar competition winners

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) CLT20 2014 Match 1 — Key battles

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) CLT20 2014 Match 1: Kolkata Knight Riders’ likely XI

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) CLT20 2014 Match 1: Chennai Super Kings’ likely XI

West Indies humiliate Bangladesh by 296 runs in 2nd Test to register clean sweep

CLT20 2014: Why Mumbai Indians failed to recreate the magic

Bangladesh Bangladesh tour of West Indies 2014 Bangladesh vs West Indies Bangladesh vs West Indies 2014 Champions League T20 Champions League T20 2014 CLT20 CLT20 2014 Lahore Lions Mumbai Indians Northern Knights Southern Express West Indies West Indies vs Bangladesh West Indies vs Bangladesh 2014

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) CLT20 2014 Match 1 Preview: IPL rivals kick-off tournament

Phil Hughes named Michael Clarke’s replacement for ODIs versus Pakistan in UAE

Jonathan Trott ready for England recall

Shahrukh Khan to miss Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) CLT20 2014 Match 1

Michael Clarke likely to play Test series against Pakistan in UAE

Leave it to Smiths — an all-Smith XI

Kevin O’Brien: Ireland will look to adjust to conditions in Australia-New Zealand ahead of ICC World Cup 2015

Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014: Top 10 young players to keep an eye on

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) CLT20 2014 Match 1 — Key battles

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) CLT20 2014 Match 1: Kolkata Knight Riders’ likely XI

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

635 Posts | 7 Fans

Yuvraj Singh in Anupam Kher show

Apple rolls back iPhone 5S price drop in India

Kumkum Bhagya: Will Abhi bring Pragya back home?

Official Xiaomi Redmi 1S back cover and screen protector now available on Flipkart, priced at Rs 469 and Rs 179 respectively

Roshni Gurnani: Chef, Mother, Teacher and Reality TV Star

Ashutosh Gowariker: Nobody can take the remote from me when I’m watching Bigg Boss

Kevin O’Brien: Ireland will look to adjust to conditions in Australia-New Zealand ahead of ICC World Cup 2015

NGOs pursue education for all

Shopping for Mr. Right

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) CLT20 2014 Match 1 Preview: IPL rivals kick-off tournament

5 types of heart disease common in type 2 diabetics

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here