Sydney To Paris, On An Organ Donation Drive
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18 September 2010
By Pratibha Masand
Two Australian bikers, currently in Mumbai, are on a mission. They hope to traverse 30,000 kms from Sydney to Paris for a purpose – creating awareness about organ donation across the world. They kickstarted their tour – ‘WorldRiderZ’, as they call it – on July 24, to raise funds for research and treatment of chronic kidney disease.
Stephane Etienne, the biker who came up with the idea of riding through four continents, had a personal motivation to set upon the adventure; his 18–month–old son has been suffering from chronic kidney disease since birth. While Stephane has decided to donate his own kidney, the doctors have said that the transplant cannot take place for some years. "So, in the meanwhile, I decided to take up the cause and spread awareness about the disease and organ donation. We will travel across 11 countries. India is our third destination," said Stephane who was at Sion Hospital as part of his awareness campaign.
Paul Torriero, on the other hand, took up the challenge for the sake of adventure. "I just wanted to stand up to Stephane for the good cause," said Paul.
Dr Bharat Shah, head of Narmada Kidney Foundation, says awareness is a must, especially in India. "Raising awareness is crucial for the welfare of around four lakh patients from developing end–stage renal diseases each year – of whom, only 15,000 receive dialysis and about 5,000 find a donor for transplant," said Dr Shah.
Dr Sujata Patwardhan from Zonal Transplant Coordination Centre too supports the cause. "The incidence of chronic kidney diseases has doubled over the past 15 years. Moreover, there have been only 218 cadaver donations in the city this year, which is good compared with the previous years, but still not enough," said Dr Patwardhan.
"The whole idea behind this journey is to create an internetbased information–sharing platform," said Stephane. The duo plan to leave the city on Sunday.