Across 3 countries, biker duo to spread awareness about organ donation

For Astad Bhote (30) and Sanket Shinde (32), riding their Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycles across hilly terrain and non-existent roads, means adventure and indulging in their passion for the sport. Now, going a step further, the duo have decided to ride for a cause. They will embark on a 7,000 km ride on September 14, going across India, Nepal and Bhutan to spread awareness about organ donation.

"There is a need to popularise organ donation," say Bhote and Shinde, who readily volunteered when Dr Harshal Rajekar, chief transplant surgeon at Ruby Hall Clinic, chalked out an elaborate awareness programme. "We love biking and distributing leaflets. It is a small effort on our part to help save people's lives," says Bhote.

According to state health officials, from September 2012 till August 31, a total of 111 brain stem deaths were declared, and relatives of 40 such persons agreed to donate organs. Hence, a total of 136 persons received organs, including 69 patients who got a kidney and 26 who got a liver. The remaining got new eyes and skin.

Rajekar told Newsline they were able to identify 13 brain dead patients this year at their hospital, of which they were able to convince relatives of six persons to donate.

"We are encouraging youngsters to participate in this awareness drive. Shinde, an IT professional, and Bhote, who works as a deputy manager at Ruby Hall Clinic, readily volunteered to ride across three nations," Rajekar said.

Bhote and Shinde have been riding long distances - they covered 3,000 kms in Himachal Pradesh and other places in the country. For them, this will be the first time that they undertake a riding expedition across two other countries.

"The entire exercise will take 20 days. We start on September 14 from Pune. We will go from Ahmedabad to Gurgaon and stop in Delhi, where we will discuss the importance of organ donation," said Shinde.

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