Doctor Continues to Save Lives After Her Death
Bhakti devoted her life to helping others. Born in Bangladesh in 1937, she grew up in Calcutta where she became a pathologist. She eventually immigrated to New York City in 1965 where she was a practicing physician and a devoted wife and mother.
Tragedy struck when Bhakti had a fatal stroke while gardening at the age of 70. Because Bhakti was not a registered organ donor, the decision was left up to her husband, Ranajit, and her daughter Rakhi.
“We never discussed organ donation prior to her passing. It would have been easier if we had,” Rakhi remembers. “My father and I thought about how my mother was a doctor who cared for others and was committed to helping people. All of this helped us decide to donate her organs.”
Bhakti gave the gift of life to two people, one of them was a grandfather of 12 children who went on to live for an additional eight years. Rakhi and her father had an opportunity to meet this man and his family.
“It was a very special day,” she says. “It was amazing to see that my mother’s kidney lived on in him.”
Organ donation can still be a taboo topic in the Bengali community, and Rakhi and her father set out to change that. For many years Ranajit wrote articles about the power of organ donation in the Bengali newspapers he ran. Additionally, Rakhi volunteers and shares her family’s story in an effort to educate others about the power of organ, eye and tissue donation.
“Donating my mother’s organs is one of the best decisions my family ever made,” Rakhi says. “Whenever anyone asks me about her, I get a big smile on my face as I tell them about the lives she helped.”
August marks National Multiethnic Donor Awareness Month, an initiative dedicated to saving and improving lives in diverse communities by creating a positive culture for organ, eye and tissue donation. 75% of those waiting in the greater New York City area for a lifesaving organ transplant are people of color. Because of this, the initiative focuses on healthy living habits that may prevent the need for an organ transplant while also raising awareness about the power of donation in multiethnic communities. To learn more, please visit LiveOnNY.org.