Reena Raju, Karnataka’s first woman heart recipient’s heart now sings to “Light a Life”
She first refused to live with someone else’s heart. When she first received a call from the Chennai hospital informing her about the matching heart, she refused the transplant. But the love, affection and proper guidance from her family let her build the courage in her heart to replaced it with someone else’s heart. Finally she accepted the challenge when she got a similar call a month later. Reena Raju, Karnataka’s first woman heart recipient still does not know who donated the valuable organ giving her a new life. But it’s her time now to pay back. Having already pledged her organs, Reena Raju is now campaigning for organ donation.
Reena Raju was diagnosed with the heart problem at the age of 25. She was told that she will not survive for long. Knowing that heart transplant was the only option, Reena registered herself for heart donors in Bangaluru and Chennai. But it was not at all easy for Reena to live with someone else’s heart, because she was not psychologically as well as financially prepared for the surgery. She refused the first offer. Luckily she got another offer and this time she was determined and was ready for the surgery.
Reena’s family could afford the surgery. But Reena thought, what would a farmer do if he needs a heart transplant? When she started counting, she found out that in reality only few people in our society can afford or even think of such a lavish medical procedure. Realizing the need, she thought to do something for the people who can’t afford. She wanted to make organ transplantation a viable option.
In November 2009, after being the first woman heart recipient in the state of Karnataka, Reena founded a charitable trust ‘Light A Life-Reena Raju Foundation’ in March 2011, in order help organ recipients post transplantation. Because, life is not easy either after transplantation, since it is expensive and needs lots of care and medicines in order to avoid infections.
Life is expensive post transplant. My family takes care of me. But affordability is the biggest problem for many patients, Said Reena Raju.
The 33 year old Reena Raju is now the face of heart transplant across India, who has counselled more than 75 organ recipients and raised funds to help patients across Bengaluru, Chennai and Maharashtra. Reena sings and organize musical events to raise funds. Her foundation also approach corporates for the same.
Today, Reena Raju is a source of inspiration for many. Many people could gather courage seeing the inner strength of Reena. To take an example, 36 year old Vamsi Krishna underwent transplant after reading about Reena’s participation in a 6 km marathon organized to create awareness of organ donation.
Image Credit: vebidoo