Cricketer Gautam Gambhir on Saturday joined a campaign to encourage people to pledge to donate organs, at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals here.
"I am extremely humbled to be a part of this drive. Organ donation is an egalitarian and a moral act," said Gambhir, who is also an ambassador for "Gift a Life."
Gift A Life is an initiative launched in 2011 to create awareness about organ donation to save countless lives and is supported by the Apollo Transplant Institutes.
"Thousands die every year for want of organs and I feel that this initiative will bridge the gap by spreading awareness in the society," said Gambhir, who has already pledged to donate all his organs.
Every year nearly five lakh people die in India due to non-availability of organs. Nearly 1.5 lakh people are in dire need of kidney transplants but only 3,000 of them receive one.
"One of the major reasons is lack of awareness about organ donation in India at large where majority of the population is still shackled with myths and religious beliefs, hence there is an urgent need to address this issue and create sound awareness," said Anupam Sibal, Group Medical Director and Senior Paediatric Gastroenterologist at Apollo Hospitals Group.
Vital organs such as the heart, pancreas, liver, kidneys and lungs can be transplanted to those whose organs are failing. A single donor can save eight lives by donating the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas and small bowel.
World Organ Donation Day is observed every year on August 13.