Wellingborough student's Diwali art competition win could be a BAME lifesaver

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Niyati wants to raise awareness of donation within her community

A Wellingborough schoolgirl has finished in the top three of a national competition to raise awareness of organ donation in the Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority (BAME) communities.

Niyati Mistry, a student at Sir Christopher Hatton Academy, was awarded the runner-up prize in the competition organised by the NHS Blood & Transplant (NHSBT) and the Jain and Hindu Organ Donation Steering Group (JHOD).

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The 14-year-old spent her time creating the traditional rangoli pattern to highlight donation combining Diwali and transplant themes

Zankhana Mistry, Niyati's mum, said: "I'm really proud of her. She decided to take part because we couldn't celebrate Diwali in the same way - seeing family and going out.

"We talk about organ donation at home and she had heard about the competition. She sat down and made the design all on her own."

Niyati was the runner-up in the 11-17 age category in the Diwali competition to encourage BAME communities to have the conversation with family about their wishes should the worst happen.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She won £50 in vouchers for her efforts, which she will spend on books.

Niyati and her winning designNiyati and her winning design
Niyati and her winning design

Currently, 1,408 people from BAME backgrounds are actively waiting for a transplant, almost one third of all patients waiting in total and for many, particularly for those waiting for kidneys, the best match is likely to come from a person of the same ethnicity.

Kirit Modi, chair of JHOD, said: “I have been delighted by the success of our ambitious campaign this Diwali and we have all been reminded of the importance of supporting each other during this difficult and testing time. Diwali will be celebrated very differently this year due to the pandemic. My fellow Hindu and Jain leaders are today asking everyone to think about organ donation during Diwali celebrations. Let us brighten up Diwali this year by thinking about those waiting for an organ transplant and help save lives.”

Figures from NHS Blood and Transplant’s annual report into organ donation and transplantation in Asian communities, reveal promising increases in consent rates and an increase in those from BAME backgrounds being eligible to donate.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Family refusal continues to be the biggest obstacle to organ donation amongst the communities. Around half as many BAME families approached about organ donation agree to go ahead, this is significantly lower compared to families from other backgrounds.

Niyati MistryNiyati Mistry
Niyati Mistry

Altaf Kazi, head of faith and belief engagement at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Diwali is a time of kindness and reflection where we acknowledge the good deeds done for others. We have been thrilled by the support shown for organ donation from Hindu and Jain communities. The response to the competition has been overwhelming and it is fantastic to see such a variety of creative excellence from people of all ages.

"Every day across the UK someone dies waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant and people from BAME backgrounds wait longer than white patients for transplants.

"Often the best match comes from a person of the same ethnicity so I would encourage everyone this Diwali to consider organ donation and speak to their families about their decision to be a donor.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It is possible that the introduction of Max and Keira’s Law – the new law relating to organ and tissue donation in England – which came into effect on May 20, will lead to an increase in the number of donors of all ethnicities. However, families will still be consulted before donation goes ahead so it remains essential to raise awareness,challenge misinformation and encourage those supportive of organ donation to talk with their families.

Niyati Mistry's prize-winning drawingNiyati Mistry's prize-winning drawing
Niyati Mistry's prize-winning drawing

Mrs Mistry added: "In our community we don't tend to talk about donation very much but she has got our friends and family talking so I am very proud."

Find out more and register your decision by visiting NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk and share your decision with your family.

Related topics: