In death a 17 year old saved my husband. She saved me and my kids too.

A heartfelt plea from Seema Bali, KetchupMoms contributor and Vice Principal, St. Mary’s School, Dwarka, India. She is sharing her story to raise awareness for organ donation in India.


It was 29th March, 2011 and I actually felt sand slipping from my hands when I got the ultrasound report of my husband, showing no trace of kidneys and creatinine levels touching 9 (normal maximum limit 1.33) . With my son in tenth standard and daughter in fifth standard, I was all blank, disoriented and sat on the driving seat with no road map. Being a biology teacher in high school, I knew I was in thick soup and could gauge the mammoth challenge or rather challenges awaiting me. My mother, sisters, mother-in-law, brother–in–law along with their families and my school Principal Ms Sheelu Mathew extended unconditional support which gave me and my kids so much strength and I decided to fight back to solve the jigsaw puzzle to the best of my abilities–without leaving any stone unturned.

Journey for an unknown destination started with my visit to Ganga Ram Hospital and my introduction to Padma Shree Dr.A.K.Bhalla– a Nephrologist, accompanied by the most humble, polite and ready to help, Ms Mary Kutty (ANS). Being a thalassemia minor patient myself, the biggest challenge was to get a potential donor as my husband, Anand was put on dialysis the very next day.
As per organ donation law, it was only permissible for the family members (or extended family) to be the potential donors. My mother-in-law a senior citizen, brother-in-law a hypertensive and son under 16 years, left me with the option to be the donor. The elaborate paper work and my tests which followed were tiring and time-consuming. I fixed the date in my mind as 13th May for the transplant as my summer vacations were to commence from that date. Dr. Bhalla and all my family members were on the same page but Ms. Mathew had an apprehension and said, “Both the parents on the operation table at the same time is not a good idea, so let’s pray”.

A miraculous call on 29th April 2011, from Ganga Ram Hospital, brought a ray of hope. A 17-year-old, Harshita was declared brain-dead at Ganga Ram and her family decided to donate all her organs: two eyes, liver, two kidneys and heart valves. We rushed to the hospital and got all the tests done: tissue matching, blood type etc, arranged blood and at midnight we got the good news. Urologist informed me that the operation was successful and the kidneys were doing wonderfully. What a relief!!

What followed was not a cake walk either as there were complications, frequent visits to hospitals and lifestyle changes. Catching the first metro to Karol Bagh and the last metro way back had become a way of life. The childhood of my kids was lost in this ordeal. My daughter was nine when she learnt to cook and son understood the financial implications. All adapted to it without any hitch and any alternative. We took everything in our stride and just placed our trust in God. Anand had to leave his job and then the challenge to rehabilitate himself started haunting him. But with good academic background (B.Com, LLB, MA History and an MBA) he bounced back with vengeance and now practices Law and is doing very well. The journey was a tough one but it was a lesson learnt.

A Million dollar question remained as to what lead to this situation?

  • After much interrogation, discussion and survey etc we found that Anand’s employers, a dry fruit packaging and exotic chocolate making company (Anand worked in a food processing company in Dubai as a Legal Advisor) used preservatives and other chemicals which created harmful effluents and its improper discharge depleted the water table with increased BOD( biological oxygen demand).
  • The potable water in spite of treatment had higher quantity of chemicals which lead to bio-accumalation and magnification. It was used in the kitchen causing damage to the delicate organs like kidneys, liver and even brain.
  • There were other factors like borderline hypertension and wrong administration of steroids for treating conjunctivitis.
  • One of his colleague lost his life, the other was terminally ill when Anand realised this and fled from there literally and came back to India. However once the water table is disturbed it affects all the organisms adversely. It’s an eye opener for all of us .

The objective to share my story is to create awareness.

First on the list is to consume safe food with no contamination and adulteration. Safe Food is required to boost our energy and nutrient requirements and not to deplete it.


Secondly, On the occasion of Organ Donation Day, 13th August, my appeal to all is, to pledge their organs for someone who needs it here and re-live after death.

Thirdly, Avoid self medication and go for regular health check-ups. Your health is not only important for yourself but also for the well-being of your family as it affects each and every family members well-being.

My special appeal to the students in schools and colleges-take time to think, ponder, act, spread the word, not for any certification but to elate yourself few notches for a truly selfless service.

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Seema Bali

Seema Bali is Vice Principal, St. Mary’s School, Dwarka, India and has 20 years experience in teaching. Equipped with a Master’s degree in Science and Diploma in Industrial Pollution and Control,

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