Big win for SESLHD volunteer in 2020 NSW Health Awards

Congratulations to SESLHD volunteer, Rupesh Udani for taking out the Volunteer of the Year Award in the 2020 NSW Health Awards.

The NSW Health Awards recognise the essential role of the health system in NSW, and congratulate teams and individuals for delivering innovative and sustainable health programs in what has been an extraordinary year. The winners and finalists were celebrated during a live online broadcast on Thursday, 29 October.

Rupesh, who has been volunteering with the NSW Organ & Tissue Donation Service (OTDS) since 2016, has been recognised for his passion and significant contribution towards increasing understanding of organ and tissue donation among people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Leveraging his strong connections in the Indian-Australian community, and through the brave sharing of his personal experience as the father of a young organ donor, Rupesh has been responsible for an increase in engagement and donor registrations from multicultural communities all over Australia.

Danielle Fisher, General Manager, OTDS, said Rupesh’s broad cultural and religious knowledge, his ability to connect with people and his passion for saving lives proved him more than worthy of this award.

Along with his extensive work in the community, Rupesh established and founded the awareness campaign, Saffron Day, in memory of his son.

“Rupesh has dedicated countless hours over the last five years to a cause very close to his heart,” Ms Fisher said.

“There are a number of misconceptions around religion and culture being barriers to organ and tissue donation. Rupesh has made a significant difference in people’s perceptions and attitudes towards organ donation in the way he bravely shares his personal story, and helps people from different religious and cultural groups to understand and accept organ donation, demonstrating it as an act of generosity and goodwill.”

Another significant achievement of Rupesh’s has been his success in inspiring and recruiting volunteers into the OTDS volunteer program, exponentially expanding and diversifying the program.

“I am extremely honoured to receive this award,” Mr Udani said.

“My son, Deyaan taught me about organ donation at the tender age of seven. My volunteering work is a way to honour Deyaan’s life, and telling his story helps others to understand that organ donation is a noble thing that saves lives.”

Catch Rupesh’s finalist video or re-watch the NSW Health virtual awards ceremony.

Tobi Wilson, Rupesh Udani & Danielle Fisher