A Powys dad of two is encouraging people from ethnic minorities to join the organ donor register whilst he waits for a heart transplant.

Kal Sandhu, 52, from Brecon is encouraging people of all ethnicities to declare their decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register as he waits for a transplant which could save his life.

Kal, who is originally from Wolverhampton, was born with a rare heart condition and has needed ongoing surgeries and treatment throughout his life to help him live a full life – which includes a successful legal career in London and marrying his wife Ros and bringing up his daughters, Milly, 21 and Joti, 15.

“Being on the transplant list brings uncertainty that permeates every aspect of your life,” said Kal.

“It’s difficult to plan. Taking time to go away to re-group is problematic because I would be suspended from the list, and I could miss an organ offer while we are away."


To manage his acute heart failure, and effectively buy him time whilst he waits for a transplant, Kal has been receiving an IV infusion at the University Hospital Wales in Cardiff every three weeks.

Unfortunately, his health has deteriorated in the last few months and in September he was placed on the urgent list for a heart transplant.

County Times: Kal Sandhu, pictured with his wife Ros and his daughters Milly and Joti , is encouraging more people from ethnic minorities to join the organ donor registerKal Sandhu, pictured with his wife Ros and his daughters Milly and Joti , is encouraging more people from ethnic minorities to join the organ donor register (Image: NHS)

Kal’s wife Ros said: "We've had conversations with our daughters who have watched their active dad slowly do less and less. As a family we're stuck in this limbo, teetering between grief and hope.

"Because of Kal's antibody levels from prior treatments, we were informed there's only a 10 per cent chance of him receiving a donor heart, so whilst we had hope again, it was very tempered.

“Thankfully Kal is remarkable in how he copes day to day, and he even manages to use humour to get us all through the tough times”.

Kal remains optimistic that he will get the call for his transplant and is dedicated to raising awareness of organ donation, especially among individuals of his faith. He believes that organ donation aligns with his Sikh faith as it offers the opportunity to save the lives of others.

"I'm still here, and there's still hope," said Kal.

While the rise in opt in registrations from ethnic minorities is promising the NHS said there “remains a pressing need for people from these communities to support the decision of their loved one to become an organ donor”.

The latest figures reveal that deceased organ donations among ethnic minority groups still remains far lower than those from the white population.

Overall consent/authorisation rates were 39 per cent for Black, Asian and other Minority Ethnic donors last year, compared to 70 per cent for white potential donors, similar to rates for the previous year.

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The main reasons families from ethnic minority backgrounds gave for declining consent for organ donation were that they felt it was against their religious or cultural beliefs or they were unsure whether the patient would have agreed to donation.

Winnie Andango, Lead nurse for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for Organ Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “There remains an urgent need for people of Black and Asian heritage to discuss and share their support for organ donation. Currently over three-quarters of people waiting for a transplant in the UK are waiting for a kidney.

“These patients can be saved by those who donate after death or by a living donor. With the number of people waiting for kidneys continuing to rise, the chances of finding a suitable donor are higher when a potential donor is of the same ethnicity.

“Families are much more likely to support donation if they know it is what their loved one wanted. Please join the NHS Organ Donor Register and speak with your family today.”