Pharmacist and entrepreneur Raj Aggarwal has won a top Welsh award for his pioneering work for organ donation in Wales and the UK.
Raj, 66 from Cardiff, is the Chairman of Kidney Wales Foundation and he successfully fought for the introduction of the principle of assumed consent for organ donation which was introduced as law in Wales at the beginning of December.
This crucial opt-out rule will make a huge impact on waiting lists for organ donations across the country and will almost certainly save hundreds of lives each year. In the past the rule was that families had to make the positive move to allow for organ donation to be allowed which seriously reduced the number of donors.
Raj, who is also the Honorary Consul for India in Wales, had campaigned since 2007 for a change in the law and was given a prestigious Wales Online Award for his work.
He was granted the Wales Online Award for Leading From the Front at the end of 2015.
‘It was an unexpected but very pleasant surprise to get this award,’ Raj said,. ‘I’m extremely pleased that with the introduction of the ‘soft opt-out’ law for organ donations, many more organ donations will be available for those who are in dire need.
‘Kidney donors are particularly required from people of non-white ethnic origin, because rates of kidney disease are especially high in people of South Asian, African and Caribbean ethnic origin. However, there are not many donors from these communities.
‘The wait times in the NHS prior to the change in the law were as much as two to three years and that was higher for those of south Asian origin, and hopefully now those waiting times can be significantly reduced.’