Once Upon A Time…

A long long time ago, Pune was an important part of the Maratha kingdom. Today, Shivaji Maharaj, the Peshwas, and their maavle seem to still breathe in this city! The sentiment to achieve the impossible still drives so many Punekars…

It came as no wonder then that a Pune based NGO – ReBirth Foundation – incepted and executed Bharat Organ Yatra (B.O.Y.) phenomenally. All it needed was an idea, a motorbike, a volunteer, a skilled team, and the responsibility to make a difference for its success. Mr Pramod Laxman Mahajan – a common man – took a life-altering decision 19 years ago. He volunteered to donate one of his kidneys to an ex-Armyman who also happened to be  complete stranger. The recipient, after Mr Mahajan’s successful transplant, fathered two sons and only succumbed to cancer in his 60s. Mr Mahajan’s decision changed not only the stranger’s life but also in a way gave life to two more beings.

That’s the power of organ donation; one donor has the capability to change many lives. It was only destined that ReBirth and Mr Mahajan, now famously called Kaka, function as one force. Kaka’s will to work tirelessly for a social cause and ReBirth’s concept of a nationwide awareness campaign served as the perfect ingredients to produce B.O.Y. in 2018-19.

A 67-year-old man then with one kidney and one motorbike travelled across the length and breadth of the country through 19 states for 12150 kms in 100 days to generate interest about organ donation!

Kaka braved swinging weathers of India – October heat of Gujarat and Rajasthan, December chills in Chandigarh and Punjab, heavy (unseasonal) rains in Chhattisgarh, and the humid climate of the South – unflinchingly. With newspaper coverage in all possible regional languages of each state travelled, television interviews, radio chats, and live sessions, B.O.Y. 1.0 was able to reach approximately 3 crore people; one of these people was a descendant of Shivaji Maharaj!

The outcome of B.O.Y. 1.0 was astounding, thanks to the support of Mileage Munchers (Bikers), Emergency Medical Services (108 Ambulance) – India, ROTTO – India, ZTCC – Pune, Mohan Foundation – Chennai, Donate Life – Gujarat, Jeevansarthakathe – Karnataka. With such a strong force, ReBirth and Kaka believe we still have heights to scale and lives to touch.

2020. ReBirth is ready with a more detailed plan, a customised bike, and a man with a steel resolve. Covering 17500 kilometers in 132 days across 94 cities of 24 states, ReBirth, Kaka, and B.O.Y. 2.0 are geared up to make a difference… once again!

– Juhi Kothari / Shetty

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