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Leela Keshavji: Five organs donated by 'inspiring' mother

image copyrightManoj Keshavji
image captionLeela Keshavji wanted to donate her organs after seeing the "heartache" of families on the waiting list

A community volunteer who saved five lives through organ donation following her sudden death has been described as an "inspiring individual".

Leela Keshavji, 47, from Nottinghamshire, died in October following a brain haemorrhage.

The mother-of-three regularly had conversations with her family about the importance of organ donation.

Her family has set up a foundation in her name to urge others from black and Asian communities to do the same.

Mrs Keshavji's kidneys, lungs, liver, pancreas and heart valves were all used to help other people.

Her husband Manoj said: "She was acutely aware there is a huge shortage of organ donation for everyone, but particularly the BAME community.

"Many years ago she registered as a donor and she regularly had these conversations with myself and the children to explain the importance of it."

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He said she wanted to become a donor after seeing the "heartache" some families were going through waiting for donors.

"Even after life, she wanted to give," he added.

image copyrightManoj Keshavji
image captionManoj Keshavji said his wife Leela was "all about kindness"

Mrs Keshavji was trained as a Panditain - a Hindu priest - and was involved in numerous charity projects.

This included helping to provide meals for the homeless, vulnerable and NHS workers in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.

Mr Keshavji said: "What she was all about was kindness and doing good.

"She was an inspiring individual."

image copyrightManoj Keshavji
image captionMrs Keshavji was involved in a project that has provided meals for the homeless, vulnerable and NHS workers

The NHS has said black and Asian people have to wait, on average, a year longer than white people for a kidney transplant in England.

NHS Blood and Transplant said prior to the law change there was a record high number of black and Asian people receiving an organ transplant.

However, Kirit Mistry from the Leicester-based charity South Asian Health Action said more work was needed to dissuade people from opting out.

He said: "There are some cultural and religious taboos around organ donation that need careful consideration.

"The most important thing is that people have that conversation so their families are aware of their wishes."

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Related Topics

  • BAME communities
  • Organ donation

More on this story

  • Organ donation: 'Mum said we don't do it. So we don't'

  • Organ donation: Why you may wait longer if you're black

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