This week, 24 February to 3 March, is Donate Life Week, Australia’s national awareness week to promote organ and tissue donation. This year’s theme is “Make your wish count”.
The good news is that Australia’s rate of organ donation is increasing. Last year 354 organ donors gave 1,052 Australians another chance to live. However, we need to do better. There are 1,600 people waiting for an organ donation in Australia.
Mitchell wanted to be a paramedic. The Donate Life website www.donatelife.gov.au has his story on it. At 18, driving in a bad storm, he lost control of his ute, hit a tree and was killed. Mitchell’s heart, lungs, liver, both kidneys and his pancreas were donated - saving the lives of four different people.
Because accidents and death can happen in a split second, it is never too soon to talk about organ donation with our families and let them know our wishes, regardless of our age.
Johnny, another person quoted on that website, who was dying of liver disease at 22, said that after receiving his life-saving transplant it took him months to sit down and write a letter to the donor family. “It took me six hours to write. ... What do you say to thank someone for saving your life?”
“Organ donation is the ultimate act of human kindness, offering hope instead of despair to those awaiting transplant,” said Simone, former Young Australian of the Year, in an interview on the Donate Life website.
Donate Life makes the assurance that “the quality of care for a potential donor at the end of his or her life, and the wishes of their family, is always the foremost consideration of those involved, and is never compromised by the potential for organ and tissue donation”.
Becoming an organ donor is simple and quick to do. Such generosity could save a life, or more than one life, and could transform the lives of recipients and their families. You can register your decision to become an organ and tissue donor at any Medicare branch or phone 1800 777 203 or register online at the Australian Organ Donor Register website: www.humanservices.gov.au/organdonor
Gordon Gregory – Executive Director: 02 6285 4660